Best Soccer Balls of 2018 [Ranked from Budget to Premium]

best soccer ballsWhether you call it soccer, football or futbol – the only language that matters is the way your feet speak on the pitch. Two goals, an outline and a soccer ball is all you need to get you on your way.

However, if you’re new to the sport, or just need to upgrade your ball, you’ll soon learn that there are so many designs, brands and prices that you can choose from.

In this article, we seek to provide all the information you need to find the best soccer balls to suit your agenda.

We also understand that new designs seem to come out every year. As a result, choosing the most up to date soccer balls are just as important as choosing the classics that withstand the years.

What are the Best Soccer Balls?

ImageProductRatingFeatures 
Wilson Traditional
  • Best Choice for Bulk Value - dirt cheap, and gets cheaper as you buy in bulk
  • Nothing spectacular but a good, cheap and durable ball
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Mikasa Serious Soccer
  • Another extremely cheap but durable and reliable option
  • Good for simple drills and training, nothing outstanding
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adidas MLS Top Training NFHS
  • Extremely good soccer ball when considering value for money
  • Meets all of FIFA's recommendations
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adidas MLS Top Glider
  • Editor's Choice for Mid Price - excellent quality and fantastic performance
  • Replica of the MLS ball that has outstanding air and size retention
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Nike Pitch Soccer
  • A solid option that has all the characteristics of a Match Ball
  • With Nike's quality, expect to pay a little bit more than alternative options
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adidas Starlancer V
  • Another instalment of the famous Starlancer range that adidas have had for years
  • Performs as expected, soft on the head in bright colours
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adidas Messi
  • Messi's collaboration focuses heavily on design and form
  • Soft to the touch, ideal for training with. Size 1 great as a muck around ball
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Nike Premier Team NFHS
  • In the higher price ranges of soccer balls, function stands out here
  • Hand stitched to aid maximum shape retention and longevity
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Champion's League Finale Top Training
  • Classic and infamous adidas ball and design
  • FIFA approved and seamless - a 1:1 replica of the official thing
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In Depth

Wilson Traditional

One of the most sold soccer balls in the USA, and probably one of the best soccer balls when it comes to value for money. The Wilson Traditional Soccer Ball can seriously be bought for next to nothing.

As you can see, this soccer ball is designed in the traditional black and white pentagon panels that is so commonly attributed to a classic soccer ball. Don’t expect anything special about the ball though.

This is an extremely sturdy and durable soccer ball – with enough weight to accurately train with and enough of a bounce for match readiness. Definitely one of the best and most affordable on this list – comes in different sizes, and in packs of 2, 3 or 4.

Undoubtedly the best soccer training ball for value.

Check Price on Amazon.com

Mikasa Serious Soccer

Another wildly popular soccer ball that does exactly what it’s meant to.

The Mikasa Serious Soccer Ball is another cheap alternative to the Wilson Traditional – offering a simple soccer ball excellent for training individually or in a team.

Again, at this price point you shouldn’t expect the world. But that’s not to say that this performs poorly.

This ball is durable and thick – and holds air quite well. The outer layer is a synthetic leather, but is surprisingly soft on the head for heading drills or in a game.

A basic design available in Sizes 3, 4 and 5 – another good soccer ball at an inexpensive price.

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adidas MLS Top Training NFHS

This is a really interesting option on this list of best soccer balls. It’s a match ball replica designed specifically for training. And it’s a real hit.

The adidas MLS Top Training NFHS is a specifically certified ball that not only meets all of FIFA’s requirements, but offers the very highest quality materials and durability that makes it the ideal training ball.

As seen, the soccer ball itself is a grayscale colour that isn’t exactly the most appealing. Nonetheless, this doesn’t take away from the exceptional performance that this great soccer ball offers. The seamless surface (otherwise known as TSBE Technology) used by adidas also offers a great feel to the ball. This is said to lower the overall water uptake of the ball. Overall wear and tear is said to be excellent.

A more upmarket training ball, but definitely feels like a high quality soccer ball that would otherwise work as a premium match ball. Available in sizes 3, 4 and 5. This is well worth the money.

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adidas MLS Top Glider

Following on from the MLS Trainer ball – this is the first on this list that adds a bit of style on top of it’s great balance of performance and price.

As seen in the MLS – the adidas MLS Top Glider is part of the collection inspired to keep the pillars of club, country and community all together in one soccer ball.

adidas have used a special TPU exterior material here to improve upon the overall durability of the ball. Naturally, abrasive materials will wear away the outer layer (best to keep it off the asphalt). Water-resistant polyurethane outer shell is also a very nice touch.

The air retention and size retention is an outstanding factor here too. The bladder of the ball is firm and consistent, designed to stay inflated longer. Whilst not marketed as a dedicated match ball, it feels great as a match ball (without the huge price tag).

Available in Sizes 3, 4, and 5 – keep an eye out for the most recent styles updating every year!

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Nike Pitch Soccer

An extremely familiar soccer ball that uses the same design as some of the top tier leagues in the world. These are some of the best soccer balls for training with – allowing you to buy a Nike ball without the price tag.

The Nike Pitch Soccer Ball, like most training soccer balls, aren’t too different in nature. It features large 32-panel surface made with a TPU material. In other words, it’s a mixture of plastic and soft silicone as a way to replicate the authentic feel of the upper range premium soccer balls. However, when fully pumped up, the ball may feel a bit hard on the head.

As evident, Nike pride themselves on their overall soccer ball pattern. This is seemingly a trademark Nike design – excellent as a visual aid as the ball comes flying to you in the air.

Although a bit more expensive that other training soccer balls, this is extremely durable and when treated with respect, will last for an age.

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adidas Starlancer V

If you’ve never heard of this soccer ball – then it just means you haven’t been looking hard enough. This is one of adidas’s most sold soccer ball specifically targeted at youths and beginners.

Like most soccer balls on this list, the adidas Starlancer V is constructed via machine stitching and encompasses an internal nylon carcass for durability. Add in the typical butyl bladder and you have a ball that is not only durable, but will hold shape and air well.

The TPU exterior is also a lot softer than alternate models. Designed to feel great and perform even better. As evident, the Starlancer comes in extremely bright and out there colours.

It’s for this reason that it’s mostly targeted for younger players – but that shouldn’t deter you if you’re older! If you like the colour, this is a ball that will perform well. Available in the standard sizes of 3, 4 and 5.

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adidas Messi

After something that looks a little bit out there? Want colour and performance, but don’t like the look of the Starlancer Vs?

Collaborating with arguably the greatest soccer player of all time, the adidas Performance Messi Soccer Ball is another soccer ball that focuses heavily on style as a drawing point. Part of Messi’s collection, these balls don many of the same features as alternative adidas soccer balls.

Machine stitched with a nylon carcass that provides a soft touch to the feet – ideal to train with. Add this alongside a butyl bladder for maximum air retention, this ball is designed to last as long as it can at this price point.

Evidently, design is heavily emphasised here with the fading colours and Messi’s logo right smack bang in the middle. This ball will work for all age groups – and comes in Sizes 1, 4 and 5. If you don’t want the bigger size, the Size 1’s are absolutely ideal to mess about with in your house.

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Nike Premier Team NFHS

A slightly higher budget and looking for the best soccer ball without absolutely emptying your bank account?

The Nike Premier Team NFHS Soccer Ball isn’t just your run of the mill ball. This oozes class without the big price tag. Made with an extremely springy yet soft and durable polyurethane cover. Another dedicated training ball that truly performs like a match ball. The added factor is that each one of these are hand-stitched.

Hand stitching, whilst usually exceedingly expensive, tends to remain intact and hold shape for a lot longer than machine stitched alternatives. Try it out for yourself.

This NFHS approved soccer ball is absolutely ideal for competitive play, training, or just a recreational game at the park. Doesn’t break the bank to own, and will last when treated with respect. A great soccer ball – only available in Sizes 4 and 5.

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Champion’s League Finale Top Training

One of the most iconic soccer balls in the world. Replicating the greatest competition in the world (or at least on par with the World Cup).

The Champion’s League Finale Top Training is an extremely popular soccer ball that most kids dream to play with. Although the design changes each year with each competition, its fundamental and signature star design remains constant.

Built from high quality materials, this is a 1:1 replica of the Official match ball used by the elite teams in Europe. Typical with adidas’s training balls, the surface is seamless as a way to ensure that it keeps its water update as it possibly can. High durability is as expected with soccer balls of this nature.

Although machine-stitched, it has a soft surface and true rebound that is absolutely ideal as a training soccer ball. FIFA approved.

Another winner here albeit at a higher price point. Quality is undeniable. Available in Sizes 3, 4 and 5.

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Premier Official Match Balls

If you have a little extra money in the kitty, then these are some of the absolute best soccer balls on the market. Not only are they the exact soccer ball that professionals use in the top tier leagues in the world, they outperform all the cheaper soccer balls aforementioned on this list.

Nike Premier League Magia

One of the biggest leagues in the world, and undoubtedly the richest – the Nike Premier League Magia is the official soccer ball used in the English Premier League.

This is a soccer ball of absolute upmost quality. Some of its features include Nike’s Aerowtrac grooves in conjunction with the 12-panel design of the ball which gives it a predictable ball flight in the air. This allows it to perform spectacularly in the air.

You don’t need to worry about air retention or how the shape of the ball will hold up either. Internally, it comes with a 6-wing latex bladder for great rebound qualities and high air retention. TPU casing for high durability. Although it’s machine stitched, Nike back the durability of this product with a 2 year stitch and shape guarantee.

For the true Premier League fans, and for people with a higher budget. A fan favourite.

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Adidas World Cup Omb

It only comes round once every 4 years, and it usually stops the entire world for a few weeks. The World Cup not only brings about a high quality spectacle – but the design of the soccer ball can be memorable for years. Surely everyone remembers the Jabulani? the Telstar?

Coming up to the 2018 Russian World Cup, adidas has released the Telstar ’18 – and this is the official licenced product by FIFA. Inspired by the Telstar first used in 1970, a modern take on an all time classic.

This is completely a completely new concept and a completely new design. This is a never before seen 6-panel construction is seamlessly designed to allow a true and smooth flight of the ball headed towards the goal. This has been tested extensively by adidas in youth tournaments all over the globe.

Performance is also aided by the new internal carcass construction that seeks to provide for greater force distribution on shots. Shoot harder, and more accurately.

Even if you don’t want to use this ball recreationally, it’s a great collectors item. A must have.

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Different Types of Soccer Balls

Training Balls

Soccer balls in this price range are absolutely ideal for day to day training. They’re cheap as chips and will definitely aid skill development – perfect for a tight budget, or to buy a whole heap for soccer teams/personal free kick training etc.. Whilst more expensive soccer balls definitely feel better to the touch, there’s no need to spend $100+ simply to train with.

The Wilson Traditional and Mikasa Serious Soccer are two soccer balls on this list that epitomise what a training soccer ball should be. Cheap, durable, and performs as a standard soccer ball should.

Premium Training Balls

The next step up. These are simply higher quality soccer balls that perform a lot better than the cheaper options. They usually fly better in the air, they feel better on the feet, and are bouncier upon rebound. Overall performance usually reflects the price jump here – and works great in training matches.

In this category, the adidas MLS Top Glider and Nike Premier Team NFHS are real stand outs, and should last for a few seasons at least.

Premium Match Balls

The cream of the crop. These are the official balls used in professional leagues. Expect to pay a whole heap more than you would usually spend on a training soccer ball. Not always just a plain soccer ball, these are collector items. See above for the break down of two current premium soccer balls.

How Soccer Balls are Priced

Materials

Originally, soccer balls were made from leather. They were highly durable, tough, and made to last for years. Whilst approved by the laws of the game, they’re heavy. Using a leather soccer ball is incredibly rear these days, and simply way too expensive to realistically use.

Nowadays, the best soccer balls available on the market are made with either a PVC material, or polyurethane.

PVC are what cheaper, more training dominant soccer balls are made of. They’re designed to be a little bit harder overall, and more durable. The more affordable of the two options here.

Polyurethane is typically the main material used for premium quality match balls. Once you trial both types of soccer balls, you’ll immediately tell the difference. Polyurethane are softer, lighter, and feel much more natural to the touch. Typically comes with a glossier finish.

Inside of the ball is the bladder – which either comes in a natural latex bladder or a butyl rubber bladder. Whilst natural latex is softer, has a more natural bounce and is generally a higher quality material, it tends to deflate a lot faster than a rubber bladder.

In contrast, a rubber bladder is more rigid and does not offer as authentic a bounce as a natural latex bladder.

Construction

Commonly, the nature in which the soccer ball is constructed will directly impact the overall performance of the ball. Good panels in combination with efficient stitching will always offer better performance than your standard run of the mill, low quality, dollar store ball.

With construction, this is broken down into three different types of bonding:

  • Thermal bonding
  • Hand Stitched
  • Machine Stitched

The nature of the soccer ball will typically determine how many panels the ball is made with. The most common is usually 32-panel constructed via machine stitching. These are the cheapest soccer balls available.

In complete opposition, the more expensive options has seen soccer balls developed with only 8 panels – put together via thermal bond.

The fewer panel means that there are less ridges in the ball. Although the bladder of the ball plays a role, having fewer panel usually allows the ball to maintain shape for a much longer period of time. Further, with less ridges means less areas for the water to sit.

Ensuring maximum potential water resistance is always the best possible option, and as you may commonly see through the major brands, balls withe less panels tend to advertise higher water resistance.

Final Words and Recommendation

As you can see, there’s an entire multitude of options when finding the best soccer balls to suit your needs. Ultimately, the overall quality you receive in a soccer ball is usually determined by its price point.

In saying that, with the above list, we can assure there is an option for everyone.

If you’re looking to buy in bulk, then there’s no reason to look past the Wilson Traditional Soccer Ball that gets cheaper as you buy more.

Alternatively, for something with higher quality, the adidas MLS Top Glider is a fantastic all round ball.

If in doubt, check out the countless reviews on Amazon to get a better idea for the product you’re buying.

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