The Essential Guide to Buying Footballs

There’s no other sport like football. People across the world love it and are extremely passionate about their favourite team. They come together to cheer and raise their voice in unison, giving off an unmeasurable amount of energy. No other sport is played as much as football, and no matter whether you go to your local playing ground, the streets, in isolated make-believe fields, everyone is playing it with great passion. Age also makes no difference. Both young and old people adore it. But, when we talk about football, all the skill and the players, and everything it goes into it – we commonly forget one thing, the single piece of equipment that brings it all together and allows for the game to happen – the football

If you’re an amateur who’s playing just for fun or a professional whose dream is to play on the big stage, choosing the football to practice with can be difficult. But it’s one of the most vital choices. Regardless of nutrition or preparation, the ball is what makes the game possible. As such, here is a guide on how to pick the best football for you or your team.

The Production

Soccer Ball
source: thesoccerstore.co.uk

We’ve all used one throughout our lives and had some of our best memories with them. Nonetheless, I would be lying to you if I said that I knew how they’re made or from what up until I did some research on the topic out of curiosity. When looking to buy footballs online, there will be many footballs to pick from, all of which feature slightly different characteristics. Before I go into them, it’s good to know how the production process goes. This to give you a general idea of the types of footballs available and a clear understanding of the terminology.

Bladder

The bladder is the inner compartment of the ball, the one that holds the air. There are several types of materials that bladders are made of. Latex is one of them, and it’s known for its responsiveness and softer surface tension. However, it loses air much faster, and you need to inflate it more often. On the other hand, butyl is the exact opposite of this. It’s more durable but less responsive. Finally, there’s foam which reduces bouncing capabilities.

Lining

The lining is the layer between the bladder and the outer cover of the ball. It’s usually made of bonded cotton or polyester. Cotton is responsible for the softness of the ball, while polyester is for the control. More expensive professional balls have at least four layers of both. On the other hand, cheaper balls generally have two polyester layers, which is why they’re harder and more difficult to control. A foam layer can also be used for greater ball control and cushioning.

Panels

Stitched Ball
source: unsplash.com

The panels are the way the balls are put together, and it affects most of their characteristics. The more panels a ball has, the more durable it will be. Each ball may have a different number of panels and a different production method. Glued panels are the cheapest and have the hardest feel, while stitched balls are better in every aspect.

Which One to Get

Now that I’ve gone over the production and you have a general understanding of the terms, let’s move onto the next part. When looking to buy football balls, you’ll have to choose one of the many types. That said, let’s go over what you should look for when you want to buy one. But don’t forget the other equipment you might need as well, like tracksuits, footwear, etc.

Brand

The first thing to look out for is brand. It’s impossible to escape, as the brand almost always ensures quality. And football is filled with brands that specialise in football equipment – Nike, Adidas, Puma, and many more. However, just because a brand is famous doesn’t mean that it’s the only one with premium quality. An example of that is Mitre, whose footballs you might have seen in the English Football League and their products continue to impress with cutting-edge technology.

Training Balls

If your goal is to train on any surface, whether grass, astro, artificial surfaces or cement, you need a training football. You might see the match football and be impressed by its softness and performance, but don’t overstep. A training football is made with a butyl bladder and has 32 panels. As a result, they’re beneficial in two ways. First, they’re cost-efficient as they’re durable and last longer. Further, they’re much harder on the leg, thereby strengthening the feet and helping improve ball control. Additionally, most come with a foam layer for extra sensitivity and control.

Match Balls

Brands of balls
source: soccervocal.com

If you’re looking for high-performance and perfection, you want a match football. These are a lot less durable, and you should only use them for grass. However, they compensate with their technical prowess. Match balls are soft and responsive, as they’re made with a latex bladder and only 20 panels. Furthermore, they come with multilayer lining to guarantee outstanding performance on all levels. They don’t have a foam layer, tough, as it isn’t needed.

Futsal Balls

You use this type of football exclusively for hard indoor courts. The reason for this is that it doesn’t have a typical bladder. As previously mentioned, some bladders are only foam which reduces the bouncing capabilities. And while it ensures that the ball won’t jump much, it doesn’t have the same technical characteristics for either training or match. Also, it is heavier but smaller in size.

Sizes and Other Equipment

Footballs
source:

If you plan to buy footballs online, you should know the different sizes and what they mean. Footballs come in sizes from one to five, and they all have different circumference and weight.

Size one (mini) is for kids three and under, while size two (mid) is for kids three to five. These balls are both very light, with a total weight below 300 grams. Size three is for all players up to nine years old, while size four is for players up to fourteen. Finally, size five is for any player above that age. In that case, the ball can weigh up to 450 grams.

Lastly, if you want to carry them effortless anywhere, you should consider a football bag. And if you’re worried about them needing to be re-inflated, there are plenty of great pumps in online football stores.

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