Soccer is one of the most popular sports in Australia, with over 1.1 million adults and children registering to play each year.
Whether you’re looking for new balls for your club or finding a gift for that soccer-crazed son or daughter, it can be tricky to wrap your head around the various balls on offer and how they differ.
To help you in your search, we’ve rounded up the top soccer balls on the market and reviewed them below.
After that, we discuss what you should consider when making your choice.
Best match ball: Nike Flight
Pros: Designed to reduce unexpected movement through the air, Provides superior control
The Nike Flight is a premium football designed to provide you with consistent shots and control of the ball. It’s made with grooves and a grippy texture that reduce unexpected movement through the air, so players can work on their skills with confidence.
The grooves disrupt airflow across the ball for less drag and more stable flight, while the grippy texture provides superior control in wet or dry conditions.
The main downside of this ball is the price, which makes it less suited as a team training ball.
Best training ball: Nike Strike
Pros: Great consistency, Nike Aerowtrac grooves, Textured outer, Rubber bladder, Reinforced inner tube, Affordable
Cons: Rubber bladder can be inferior to butyl for air retention
Modelled on the English Premier league ball, the Strike offers great consistency and performance for both training and competition.
Utilising Nike’s Aerowtrac grooves (as featured on the official Premier League Game Ball) and a textured outer, players are able to manipulate this ball for pinpoint accuracy in both shooting and passing. Further, high-contrast graphics allow for easy visual tracking.
The high-quality rubber bladder features a reinforced rubber inner tube to reduce air leakage and provide improved shape retention.
Upgrade pick: Adidas Al Rihla Pro Official FIFA World Cup Ball
Pros: Official Soccer World Cup match ball, superior speed in flight, excellent bounce and consistency
The Adidas Al Rihla Pro is the official 2022 Qatar World Cup match ball. The design is inspired by the Qatar pearl industry and it’s FIFA Quality Pro certified.
The Speedshell panels on the Adidas Al Rihla help increase the speed of flight and rotation of the ball, making it ideal for dribbling, passing, and shooting.
It features a rubber bladder that provides better bounce and consistency and a thermally bonded seamless construction.
Also great: Nike Pitch Soccer Ball
Pros: Plastic casing for touch control, Rubber bladder good for flight, bounce and consistency, High-visibility, Affordable
Cons: Rubber bladder can be inferior to butyl for air retention
A popular mid-range ball from Nike, the Pitch is suitable for training or competition.
The Pitch features a 12-panel design for reliable flight and a rubber bladder for superior bounce and responsiveness. Its machine-stitched casing provides great durability and consistent performance.
High-contrast graphics enhance high-visibility during play, allowing players to track ball spin and flight.
Also great: Adidas Tango Glider
Pros: Soft-touch textured outer, Consistent and durable, Butyl bladder provides good air retention
Cons: Butyl bladders usually mean inferior bounce and ball feel
One of the most popular balls on the market, the Adidas Tango Glider combines a high-end machine-stitched construction and a textured 100% TPU surface to provide unmatched durability and consistency.
A butyl bladder provides great air retention, making this a good option for either a game ball or the training kit.
Best value: Mitre Impel Training Ball
Pros: Great training ball, Retains size and shape well, Reinforced rubber bladder, Affordable
Cons: Training balls have lower overall quality and performance than match balls
The go-to training ball for many teams, the Mitre Impel is built with a durable 30-panel construction designed to provide consistency over many training sessions.
A 3.5mm EVA soft-touch foam backing combines with Mitre’s “Vimini” textured outer to provide great grip, ball control, and feel. This is the perfect ball for players looking to consistently hone their skills and develop new ones.
These balls are also not overly heavy, making them perfectly suitable for younger players.
Soccer Ball Buying Guide
The best soccer ball for your needs really depends on what you want to use it for. Here are the three questions to ask yourself before buying:
- What is the ball to be used for – competition/matches or training/casual?
- What is the age of the person who will mostly be using the ball?
- What is your budget?
With these things in mind, read on as we outline the key factors to consider when choosing your soccer ball.
Type Of Ball
At a high level, the two common types of balls are training balls and match balls.
Training balls are built to last, with solid machine-stitched construction. They also feature more durable materials, both in the bladder and the outer.
Training balls are by far the most common balls out there, with many causal and junior leagues using these for both training and on game day.
Match balls are often hand-stitched and feature more high-end materials, designed to improve ball feel and control. They will also generally have more consistent flight and bounce.
If it’s not obvious in the product description, you will be able to tell what type of ball it is by the price, with training balls in Australia generally costing around $30 – $40 and match balls around $100 – $200.
Materials And Construction
These days, the outer of most balls (both training and match balls) is constructed with a combination of Synthetic Leather, (usually Polyurethane (PU)) and Poly Vinyl Carbonate (PVC) or Polyester
Higher-end balls contain a higher ratio of PU, due to it providing a softer and more responsive ball feel.
The bladder is generally Latex/Rubber or Butyl. Training balls will usually have a Butyl bladder due to its great air retention, while higher-end balls have a Rubber or Latex bladder as it provides better bounce and consistency.
Here are the different sized balls you are likely to encounter, along with the recommended age group for each.
- Size 3: Ages 8 and under
- Size 4: Ages 8 – 12
- Size 5: Ages 12 and up (official ball size)
The best ball for you will ultimately depend on your needs and budget.
While all balls on this list are great, for us, the Nike Flight represents a great option thanks to its excellent touch and control, durability, and suitability to be used in both training and competition.