Football, often referred to as the beautiful game, offers numerous kits and accessories to enhance your playing experience. While high-end boots, shin pads, and jerseys are not essential, the true beauty of the game lies in its simplicity—a football is all you need to have hours of fun. This simplicity has contributed to the game’s widespread popularity. Interestingly, the best footballs available today are not significantly different from those used over a century ago in historic matches like the Durand Cup, where legendary players from Mohun Bagan and East Bengal showcased their skills. These footballs still consist of an inner bladder and an outer material. Technological advancements in the game have primarily focused on improving these two components.
Let’s now take a look at the various aspects of a ball that you should know about, before you buy one.
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Footballs In India – Buying Guide
In the past, leather was commonly used as the outer material for footballs. While leather footballs are still available today, the preferred materials are Poly Urethane (PU) and Poly Vinyl Carbonate (PVC).
PU footballs are softer and offer greater dynamism compared to traditional leather balls. This softness contributes to the wide variety of goals scored in professional football matches today. However, due to their softness, PU footballs are not as durable, making them suitable for use primarily on grass fields. These balls are also more expensive, making them ideal for match play.
PU + PVC Blended Footballs
If you are looking for a football to play on the regular mud grounds commonly found in India, PVC blended footballs are a good choice. These balls are harder and more durable than PU footballs. They are also more affordable, making them suitable for daily training and play. As they are harder, caution should be exercised when playing barefoot. PVC footballs are also suitable for indoor football on surfaces such as cement, mats, or street football.
Rubber footballs are designed for exceptional durability. They are hard and heavy, making them unsuitable for play on grass and artificial turf fields. These balls are primarily intended for street football and indoor play on concrete floors.
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Modern footballs typically have an inner bladder made of either latex or butyl. Let’s examine the properties of each material in detail.
Latex Bladder Footballs
Latex bladders are soft and stretchable, providing the ball with a consistent bounce. This bounce gives the ball a professional feel. However, latex bladders do not retain air for more than a week or two, requiring regular inflation. They are also slightly more expensive, making them suitable as game balls reserved for matches.
Butyl Bladder Footballs
Butyl material is cheaper and offers a higher bounce. Bladders made of butyl are more durable than their latex counterparts. They also stay inflated for several months, making them ideal for daily training and casual play.
Size 5 is the standard for all types of play and is recommended for anyone over the age of 10-11. For schoolchildren, it is advisable to consult the school coach for the recommended ball size before making a purchase. Smaller size balls, such as Size 4, can be used in 5 vs 5 Futsal games, as they provide better control and are easier to perform tricks with.
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Best Footballs – Review
Best Football Under 3000
The Adidas AL RIHLA football is specifically crafted for the FIFA World Cup, ensuring it meets stringent quality standards for professional matches. It is not recommended for use on mud grounds or street football due to its plastic material, which lacks durability. Designed for grass fields, using it on rough surfaces will cause rapid wear and tear.
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Best Football Under 2500
Stealth has made significant aerodynamic and material improvements to this football, making it ideal for professional use. The butyl bladder allows the ball to retain air for extended periods, making it suitable for daily use and training. It is highly recommended for young players training and playing on well-maintained grass or astroturf fields.
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Best Footballs Under 2000
The Nivia Ashtang is the official match ball of the Indian Soccer League, designed specifically for Indian grass grounds. The high-grade Poly Urethane outer material provides a soft feel, enhancing comfort during headers. The butyl bladder offers good bounce and long-lasting air retention. Priced under Rs. 2000, it provides excellent value for money.
Note: Avoid using this ball on rough mud grounds and for street play due to its PU construction.
Nike footballs are designed with speed of play in mind, featuring a super shiny PU outer finish that allows the ball to glide effortlessly on grass or AG surfaces at high speeds. The butyl rubber bladder ensures excellent bounce and travel.
This football is recommended for intermediate players participating in school, college, district, and state-level games. However, it should not be used on rough mud grounds or for street football.
The Adidas Tiro is a professional-grade football with a high-quality TPU outer material and a butyl bladder for good bounce. Its attractive colors make it an excellent choice for beginners and school kids starting their football practice and training.
Avoid using this football on hard mud grounds, cement fields, or for street football.
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Best Footballs Under 1000
The Syn6 match football is a high-quality ball featuring a good grade PU outer material. This provides a soft touch and feel when kicking and heading. Priced under Rs. 1000, it is highly recommended for beginners and casual players looking to play 5-on-5 games at local football turfs.
Note: Avoid using this ball on hard playing surfaces.
The Nivia Rabona Pro Football is designed with a hard synthetic outer shell specifically for Indian street football. Its hard and heavy construction ensures the ball doesn’t fly too high, making it ideal for street play without the risk of breaking windows. The butyl bladder provides good bounce for fast-paced games. This is undoubtedly the best football for street football on hard ground and concrete surfaces.
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Best Footballs Under 500
The Nivia Trainer Rubber Football is one of Nivia’s best-selling footballs, and for good reason. Priced under Rs. 500, it offers all the essential features required for playing football in India. It is highly durable and withstands rough mud grounds and concrete streets. Despite being made of rubber, it has a smooth finish suitable for barefoot play, and heading the ball is easier and less painful.
The Street Soccer Football from VectorX is the best football under Rs. 250 available in India. It is well-built and crafted from durable rubber material. However, it is slightly hard due to its rubber outer shell, making it less suitable for heading and barefoot football, which can be uncomfortable.
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Best Junior Football for Kids
Reasonably priced under Rs. 400, the Cosco Rio Kids Football is an excellent choice for school kids starting their football journey. The PVC blended outer shell provides a soft feel, ensuring the safety of your child’s feet while playing. It makes a great gift for birthdays.
Note: Due to its soft outer surface, it is recommended not to use the Cosco Rio kids football on rough grounds or for street football.
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This concludes our review of the best footballs available for online purchase in India. If we missed any great options, please let us know in the comments below.
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