If you’re looking at buying a new soccer ball, you have probably noticed the wide range of prices available. The best soccer balls out there are expensive! If you are going to pay top dollar for a ball, you need to be sure it is worth it. In this article, I want to help you figure out if it’s really worth paying more for an expensive soccer ball.
Expensive soccer balls are worth it because they are made using higher quality materials and designed using more advanced techniques than cheaper balls. This extra quality enables the soccer player who uses the ball to perform at a higher level than is possible with other soccer balls.
The reality is that your performance will improve, and you will feel like a better soccer player if you use a more expensive soccer ball.
In this article, I’ll share with you 9 reasons why expensive soccer balls are worth it.
At the end, I’ll give you my recommendation for the best soccer balls you can buy in two different categories – mid-range and most expensive.
Why Some Soccer Balls Are So Expensive
Although there are 6 essential items needed for every soccer game, I would argue that a soccer ball is the most important piece of equipment.
Without a ball, there would be no game, just a group of people running around on a field, and that would look pretty odd!
Soccer balls are the key element of any soccer game, and the quality of the ball can make a significant difference to the quality of the game.
I’m sure you’ve seen how different the price of soccer balls can be. You can pay anything from $1 to almost $2.6 million.
That’s right! Someone once made a soccer ball that was worth almost $2.6 million.[source]
The most expensive soccer ball ever was produced by South African jewelry company Shimansky Jewellers in 2010 for the South Africa World Cup. The ball contained 6,620 white and 2,640 black round brilliant cut diamonds and was estimated to be worth $2.58 million.
Now, I don’t imagine that you are considering spending that much money on a soccer ball! Most people just want to know if there’s any advantage to buying a more expensive soccer ball, or will you just end up regretting it?
The truth is that some soccer balls cost more money for a good reason.
The reason some soccer balls are so expensive is the same reason that expensive soccer balls are worth buying over cheap ones.
Some soccer balls are so expensive because they are made from the highest quality materials and are constructed using the best techniques and technology. The cost of an expensive ball reflects the time and skill involved in manufacturing the ball.
My advice would be to purchase the most expensive soccer you can afford.
Take the time to figure out your budget and then purchase the best soccer ball you can for within your budget.
The truth is that most good soccer balls are within a similar price bracket.
A good soccer ball will cost between $50 and $100. At this price, you will receive a high-quality ball that is durable, responsive and accurate when kicked, and enjoyable to use.
Although many soccer balls are available that are even more expensive (and more impressive) than this, you can acquire a quality soccer ball at this price. My recommendation for a ball within this price range would be this one on Amazon.
It’s also true that official match balls are usually more expensive than replica balls.
Official match balls are designed to be the best quality option available. There are used by professionals and often at an international level.
But this doesn’t mean replica balls can’t be good.
Many replica soccer balls are very good. Although they are not of the same quality as an official match ball, replica balls are an excellent option for players of non-professional games as they perform well in most soccer settings.
But the fact remains that the more expensive a soccer ball is, the better it is likely to be.
Here’s are my reasons why you should seriously consider purchasing a more expensive soccer ball.
9 Reasons Expensive Soccer Balls are Worth It
1. They are more responsive when kicked
The first reason expensive soccer balls are worth it is the fact that they are far more responsive when kicked.
What I mean by being “responsive” has to do with how the ball responds when force is applied to it. This most often happens when a player kicks the ball.
Anytime a soccer player kicks the ball, whether, for a pass or a shot at goal, the player expects the ball to “respond” in a certain way. Basically, they want the ball to go where they intended for it to go!
Expensive soccer balls are far more likely to do this than a cheap ball.
The companies that design the best quality balls spend a lot of time and a lot of money working on the smallest details on the ball to make sure the ball is optimized to do exactly what a player wants it to do. These techniques are formed over decades of soccer ball development, as you can see in my article – Soccer Ball History: From Origin to Modern Day.
Getting hold of a more expensive soccer ball will allow you to appreciate the increased ability it has to go in the same direction you intended for it to go.
No more kicking the ball and it flying off in the wrong direction. Watch the ball go exactly where you want it to! (Obviously, this is dependant on how well you strike the ball!)
2. They are more stable in the air
The second reason follows on from the first.
A more expensive soccer ball is noticeably more stable in the air than a cheaper option.
You’ve no doubt seen times where a player has kicked a ball, and it’s moved all over the place as it flies through the air.
Although there are occasions where this is precisely what a player wants to happen (such as when attempting a knuckleball), most of the time, a player wants the ball to fly straight through the air.
Higher quality soccer balls give far more stability to a ball as it travels through the air.
These balls are much less affected by the wind or other atmospheric factors present during a game.
3. They are more spherical than cheaper balls
One of the key reasons that better quality balls are more stable through the air, and are also more responsive, is that expensive soccer balls tend to be more round, or spherical, than less expensive versions.
In my opinion, this is the most interesting difference between expensive and cheap soccer balls.
If you are anything like me, you would have probably just assumed that all soccer balls were spherical, right?! Well, that’s not the case.
Next time you have a cheap ball and a high-quality ball together, take a close look at them side-by-side.
It doesn’t take long to notice that many cheap balls almost come to point at the corners of each panel that make up the ball’s surface.
This is almost entirely down to the process of how the ball is designed and manufactured. It’s quicker, cheaper, and easier to put together a ball that is “mostly spherical” rather than create a ball that is close to perfectly spherical.
This extra care taken in the manufacture of the ball is reflected in the price you pay for the pleasure of using the ball.
However, that extra cost is worth it when you get to use a better, more responsive, more stable, and more aerodynamic soccer ball.
4. They are more aerodynamic through the air
Aerodynamics has to do with the way the air moves around an object. The more aerodynamic an object is, the less that object will be negatively affected by the air around it.
In the case of a soccer ball, a more aerodynamic ball will encounter less drag as it moves through the air, and because of this, it will move more quickly.
This is important for soccer balls because there are significant advantages to the ball moving fast through the air.
Not only will the ball get to where it is going quicker, but when the ball moves faster:
- It increases your chances of scoring
- It increases the likelihood that your attempted pass will get to the player it is intended for
- it decreases the possibility that an opponent will intercept the ball
A more aerodynamic ball that moves more quickly keeps a game moving at a higher tempo makes for a more exciting spectacle.
5. They offer better grip when dribbling
Another feature of more expensive soccer balls is that they provide superior grip compared to their cheaper counterparts.
What I mean by “grip” is the sensation of the ball being easier to control when you touch it.
A higher-quality grip on a soccer ball is better for two reasons.
- The goalie on a team is less likely to drop the ball and lose possession or concede a goal.
- The ball will “stick” to a player’s feet as they dribble the ball.
These are both advantages to the players involved and also make for a better game to play and watch.
When you play soccer with a top-of-the-range soccer ball, it is hard to go back.
The feeling of the ball sticking to your feet, rather than rolling away from you, as you dribble, is fantastic and makes a much better player. It reduces the likelihood of you making a mistake or the embarrassment of the ball moving too far in front of you as you run down the pitch with it.
(Obviously, this also relies on your skill and ability with the ball!)
It’s also great if you’re a goalie, as you’re more likely to keep hold of the ball rather than letting it slip through your hands when the opposition striker takes a shot at the goal.
A soccer ball with better grip can be a game-changer!
6. They are more durable than cheaper balls
So far, we’ve talked about how the ball feels to use, how it moves and responds to impact, but if you are going to spend a large amount of money on a soccer ball, then you want to know it’s going to last you a long time.
I don’t know about you, but over the years, I have used so many soccer balls that start falling apart within a few months of use.
Either the ball’s outer layer starts degrading and falling off, the ball develops a puncture, or it becomes misshapen. This can be frustrating when you’ve not long purchased a ball.
Thankfully this is the case with more expensive soccer balls. They are far more durable than cheaper balls.
More expensive soccer balls can last for years!
This higher level of durability comes down to the fact that they are manufactured with higher quality materials and technically superior methods.
You’ll have no doubt noticed I keep coming back to this fact, but you can’t get away from the truth that more expensive soccer balls are worth it simply because they are superior products that will last a long time.
7. The panels are thermal-bonded together rather than stitched
The way the panels on a soccer ball are connected is an indication of the quality of the ball also.
You’ll have noticed that most soccer balls are constructed using a series of panels. A classic soccer ball is made up of 32 panels, but more modern balls use a variety of different numbers of panels.
The reason soccer balls use panels rather than one single piece of material is to do with the way the ball moves through the air.
A single piece of material wrapped around the outside of a ball would have a negative effect on a ball. It would become unstable through the air and travel more slowly than a ball made of panels would.
But if a ball is going to be made of multiple panels, those panels need to be connected securely.
Traditionally this was done by stitching them together. Although you will still see this in cheaper balls, most expensive balls are now thermal-bonded together.
Thermal-bonding means the panels are sealed together using heat.
This is a much more robust way of connecting the panels and has multiple benefits, including making the ball far more water-resistant than a ball with stitching would be.
8. They don’t soak up as much water
Higher quality, more expensive soccer balls are worth it because the thermal-bonding techniques used to connect the ball’s outer panels prevent the ball from soaking up excessive amounts of water.
When I was younger and still using cheap soccer balls, I often noticed the ball I was using would get heavier during a game if it was raining or the ground was wet.
I used to think this was just how it was when it was wet, and I didn’t know it was anything to do with the quality of the ball.
But that all changed when I started using better soccer balls.
Instead of the ball getting heavier throughout a game as it soaked up the water on the soccer field, it actually stayed light and easy to play with.
This was almost entirely down to the fact that it was no longer soaking up water.
Balls that are stitched together have gaps where the water can get in, and even the stitching itself soaks up the water.
A thermal-bonded soccer ball is noticeably better and worth the extra cost.
9. They feel lighter than cheaper soccer balls
This last reason is interesting because it is more about a player’s perception of the ball than the hard facts.
Most soccer balls, whether they are cheap or expensive, have a similar weight.
In fact, the rules of soccer require a ball to be:
“between 410 g (14 oz) and 450 g (16 oz) in weight at the start of the match”IFAB Laws of the Game
A better quality or more expensive ball differs because it somehow makes the ball seem lighter than a lower quality ball.
You can test this out yourself.
Next time you’re in a soccer store, grab a cheap ball and an expensive ball. If you hold one in each hand, you’ll probably notice that they feel a similar weight. But if you place them on the floor and start dribbling them around the store, you’ll quickly notice that one “feels” lighter than the other.
I would comfortably predict that this would be the more expensive one.
The way the manufacturers have created the higher quality balls gives them a lighter, more comfortable feel as you kick them.
They are more enjoyable to use, easier to handle, and lighter to the touch.
My Soccer Ball Recommendations
Now we’ve looked at the 9 reasons why it’s worth the extra cost of buying an expensive soccer ball, I want to give you my top 2 recommendations for the soccer ball you should consider owning.
As I mentioned before, you don’t have to purchase the most expensive ball on the market to own a great soccer ball, but as the price drops, so does the ball’s quality.
My recommendation is to buy the best soccer ball you can afford.
Let’s look at two different soccer balls now, starting with the highest quality one with the highest price tag. Then we’ll look at a great mid-range soccer ball if that is where your budget stands.
Best Soccer Ball – Top price range
Firstly, If you’re going to buy a top-of-the-range soccer ball, you should purchase it from a top-of-the-range soccer retailer, and soccer.com is the one I always recommend. They are a family-owned business that has reliably served the soccer community for many years.
There is no doubt in my mind that the Nike Flight soccer ball is the best soccer ball on the market today.
This ball is a beautiful ball to use and to look at.
When you kick it, it flies straight and true through the air and more often hits the exact spot you’re aiming at, almost as if it’s laser-guided!
Nike says that the new Aerowsculpt technology they used in designing the ball keeps it so stable in flight, and it definitely seems to work.
It feels incredibly comfortable to kick or head and seems to move faster through the air than any other ball I’ve used.
Here’s the link to the ball on soccer.com if you want to check it out. You will not regret owning this ball!
Best Soccer Ball – Mid price range
If your budget doesn’t quite stretch to the Nike Flight ball, that’s OK. There are still several high-quality balls available at a lower price point.
My recommendation for a mid-range price soccer ball would be the adidas MLS Competiton NFHS Soccer Ball.
This is a fantastic alternative to the Nike Flight soccer ball, and it’s half the price!
Adidas has years of experience crafting sports products to be the best they can be, and it shows with this ball.
It feels incredible to use, light to the touch and looks great on the soccer field.
While it isn’t the best soccer ball available from adidas (you’ll have to check out this one to see the best adidas produce), it is the best one I’ve found at this price, between $50 and $100, and I know you won’t be disappointed with it.
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