Are expensive soccer balls worth it?

Are expensive soccer balls worth it?

 

There are many differences between cheap and expensive soccer balls. This is mainly in the materials used in construction of the balls, which includes everything from the surface to the bladder. More expensive balls will use more expensive materials and often more layers, which gives the ball a better feeling, makes it more durable and easier to control.

 

What are the differences between cheap and expensive soccer balls?

 

As a sports enthusiast trying to buy a soccer ball i found it very difficult to find the right ball because of the amount of choices and big differences in prices. This caused me to ask the question, is there a difference between cheap and expensive soccer balls? So, I set to answer the question are expensive soccer balls worth it?

Is there a difference soccer ball materials?

Yes, the difference that stands out the most between cheap and expensive soccer balls is the use of materials. Cheap balls can go for as low as $10, while the professional can be more than $200, but are expensive soccer balls worth it? Let’s see!

Surface

Most high end professional balls today are made from a material called Polyurethane while the less expensive are made from PVC or even a mixture of Polyurethane and PVC. PVC has the benefit of being very cheap compared to Polyurethane, but it comes with a price, which is a loss of control of the ball. This is because PVC is very durable, which does sound like a good thing in and of itself, but compared to Polyurethane it makes the ball harder to control because it becomes too durable. The more expensive balls using Polyurethane create a softer touch and this gives the feeling of a more natural grip on the ball while playing.

Lining

Here too I found that differences clearly are to be found. The inner lining is a very important aspect of a soccer ball since it retains the soccer ball shape and has an impact on how the ball feels to the touch. Normally soccer balls are constructed from either cotton, polyester or a mixture of the two. The medium priced and cheap soccer balls will almost always only have one or two layers of a single material, either cotton or polyester. This means that the ball becomes much harder and because of that more difficult to control by you as a player. So again the more expensive balls have a substantial difference in quality because they will generally have multiple layers of both cotton and polyester, which makes the ball more durable, keeps the shape, feels better, more durable.

cheap soccer ball
Cheap soccer ball with bad stitching

Stitching

Even the stitching is different in high end and cheap soccer balls. Normally soccer balls are simply stitched together with a water resistant polyester material, so it does not break in wet weather. Even though the stitching used to be very similar Adidas has recently started producing balls in a process called thermal bonding. This thermal bonding heat seals the panels of the soccer ball which gives it a better, fuller more round shape.

Bladder

The bladder of a soccer ball is the inner part of the ball. Most soccer balls will use the material Butyl, and by most I mean everything else than the very high end professional balls. The professional soccer balls on the other hand use latex as their bladder, which helps the football keep in shape way better than any Butyl. It does have a better touch and feeling when using it because of this, but the latex does have the one downside that air retention is actually lower than the cheap Butyl.

THE DIFFERENCE

So there is an actual difference in the material which does mean that the more expensive balls are actually not just a marketing scam, but have some real benefits. But are expensive soccer balls worth it? You can decide for yourself now you are educated on the topic.

Here is a list of real differences in expensive and inexpensive soccer balls:

Cheap:
  • PVC surface (makes it harder to control)
  • Fewer layers of lining
  • Uses Butyl as bladder
  • An example of a “cheap” ball can be seen here: Wilson ball
Expensive:
  • Polyurethane surface
  • More layers of lining (mixed materials)
  • Uses latex as bladder
  • Thermal bonding(You can see and example of such a ball here: Adidas football)

Adidas World Cup Official Match Ball

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