Football is the world's most popular sport and often referred to simply as "the beautiful game". It is played by hundreds of millions of people all over the world and is the most-watched and beloved professional sport of all time. The reason people love it so much is that it is democratic - everyone and anyone can play and players from humble backgrounds, even those in extreme poverty can show their quality and make something of themselves.
You can play football anywhere there is an open space and it is frequently played on beaches, in backyards, on basketball courts, and in the middle of the street. All you need is a ball and you're good to go. With that in mind, we have put together the below guide to the best footballs on the market.
- 1 Weekly newsletter with the best personal finance tips
- 2 Key Facts
- 3 Ranking: The best footballs
- 4 Shopping Guide: Everything you should know about footballs
- 5 Shopping Criteria
- 6 Summary
- You really only need a ball to play football.
- Balls come in different sizes based on the age range of the players and the style of football being played.
- The playing surface dictates the kind of ball needed.
Ranking: The best footballs
In the below section we have compiled a list of the best balls on the market. They are all slightly different, but all offer great value for money. After reading through this section you will undoubtedly have found something that suits your needs and experience level. Always make sure to check the product rating and the ball size/material to get the right product.
Shopping Guide: Everything you should know about footballs
As you have likely realized the market for footballs is quite large. This might make it hard to choose the right one for you, but it is good because there is good value for money out there. In the following section we will answer some of the most commonly asked consumer questions to make your purchase decision easier.
What is a football exactly?
Where do footballs come from?
The predecessor to the modern football first made an appearance in 19th century England. But the leather cord that was used to seal the ball used to cause lacerations. The cord eventually disappeared in the 1930s when the game was taken to Argentina. .
How are footballs manufactured?
The highest quality models are hand-stitched. The air chamber and the air valve are both made from latex or butyl. You'll also find layers of polyester or cotton coating between the outer cover and the chamber. While non-pro balls are manufactured similarly, they don't use the same high-quality materials.
How should I inflate my football?
- Get an appropriate pump for your ball. Models with built-in pressure gauges are the best.
- Make sure the needle and valve are properly lubricated. This will ensure you don't accidentally puncture the ball.
- Find out what the manufacturer-recommended pressure is. Put the needle into the valve delicately and pump slowly and methodically, always keeping an eye on the pressure gauge.
What's the best way to preserve my ball?
In general, you should only use your football of soft surfaces and avoid terrain with stones, sand, or asphalt. Also, avoid shooting it against walls. Maintain the valve in good condition, especially when you are using it. Most pump manufacturers suggest lowering the pressure of your ball after each time you use it and reinflating it the following time.
Where can I repair my football?
With that mind, you can also purchase one of many fixes that exist on the market, including liquids, sprays and other adhesives that are meant for spot pairs. If you use a liquid, you should inject into the valve until air bubbles stop coming out of the hole you are trying to fill. Clean the valve after so it stays clean.
What are the most famous football brands?
Nike is no slouch, however. Nike has its own league that uses exclusively Nike footballs, as does the English Premier League. Umbro (from England), and German brands Puma and Ulsport, Japan's Mikasa and Joma from Spain are other well-respected manufacturers.
To get the right ball for you you need to have certain shopping criteria in mind before making your purchase. You need to apply these to any football you buy so you get the best product at the best price. Your decision will need to factor in the age of the players, the surface it is being used on, and the type of football you're playing.
Size is determined by the sport's governing bodies, and the official number on the ball indicates how much the ball weighs, as well as the age range best suited for the ball in question. In the table below we lay out the sizes and who they are made for. If you plan on using a ball for competitive, official matches you have to meet these standards:
|No. 5||68-70 cm||410-450 grams||From 12 years onwards|
|No. 4||62-64 cm||368 g||9-11 years|
|No. 3||58-61 cm||311 g||6-8 years|
Depending on the surface you're playing on, you will need different types of balls. If you are playing on grass or turf there are many different brands and options out there to choose from. You should get a ball made of the correct materials and that is weighted correctly so that it is easier to control and shoot.
If you are playing on hard surfaces, you will need a much tougher football. Hard balls are definitely harder to control. If you want a harder ball this is just something you will have to deal with.
Back in 1996, FIFA introduced a quality assurance process for all footballs. The goal was to make sure the balls evolved with the sport and were always the best possible technology for the contemporary game. Each ball that is certified by FIFA has to go through strict testing and meet certain requirements.
According to the official rules of the game, every ball must include at least one of the major seals recognized by FIFA or the Football Confederation Competition. These specific marks are: FIFA Quality PRO, FIFA Quality and IMC (International Match Standard).
Most people like to buy footballs that are exact replicas of the balls used in official and beloved competitions like the world cup or the Copa America. They are more affordable than the authentic balls, and having professional quality is really only required for professional matches.
Contrary to what you might think, comparative analyses carried out on different footballs have proven that replicas are not of poor quality.
These studies measured sphericity, dimensions, weight, aerodynamics, shape retention, loss of pressure, water absorption and bounce.
You don't have to put too much effort into deciding on a ball just for fun in the backyard or at the park with friends and family. You should get a harder and more resistant ball if that is the style of football you're playing. This way you can play on concrete and gravel. The Mikasa balls from the previous section are good choices.
As we mentioned, it won't provide you with the same accuracy and control as the lighter grass and turf balls. This isn't necessary however when just playing street ball. The main thing for this level of playing is that the ball is tough and lasts a while.
Footballs have been a staple recreational and football accessory for decades. People used to create their own balls and in many of the most underprivileged parts of the world children still do. The official balls used in international competitions used to be made out of a pigs bladder or rubber, but are now synthetic.
The technological advances have benefited both the professional sport and amateur players. Everybody can now use good quality footballs, but you need to do some careful research to make sure you're getting the right one.
If you enjoyed our guide to footballs and found it useful, share it with your friends and family on social media. Additionally, you can drop us a comment in the below section and let us know what you think.
(Source of featured image: Blach: 71942922/ 123rf.com)