Nike T90 Tracer Ball Review

Nike T90 Tracer Ball

This past July, Nike released the T90 Tracer ball to be used in some of the top leagues around the globe for the new season, leagues that include the English Premier League, Spain’s La Liga and Italy’s Serie A.  It took Nike two years of extensive research to create this new ball,  working with players and teams to come up with the finished program. After a month of testing it myself in training sessions and games, I can tell you that the process was well worth it! There is something special about this ball, especially if you compare it against other top soccer balls currently on the market. Here are my thoughts on how it performs.

Initial Thoughts
From what I had heard about the ball before testing, I knew there was going to be something special about it. One of the first aspects you notice about the ball is the actual design, with very unique looking graphics that circle the ball. Like the Nike Elite range, there is a strong “visual” premise behind the ball that I was eager to try out. After testing it out Atletico Madrids Sergio Aguero stated that “the T90 Tracer always feels the same no matter where I strike it. It’s responsive and easily controlled in every situation.”

Nike Total 90 Tracer

Touch and Control
One of the advancements to this ball is a unique 5 layer casing and construction that improves consistency on touch. One thing that is noticeable is the feel of the ball. When you hold it your hands it has a solid feel, as it does when it touches your foot. But, the difference lies in the fact that it actually has a rebound effect off your foot. It feels really smooth on contact, great feeling overall! Initially, I took the ball out for a knock around, a little jog while dribbling and some toe-taps. Dribbling, the T90 Tracer is great as it moves easily in sync with your boot as you move.

Whats up with the Dimples?
The dimples are part of the micro-textured casing material that is designed to equal the flow of air around the ball as it moves in the air. The ball still feels smooth as you rub your hand over it, it feels like they are “micro” dimples!

Created for Accuracy
In testing, Nike have stated that the T90 Laser is the most pin-point accurate soccer ball in the world, consistently hitting a 3-foot in diameter bulls-eye while the leading competitors were only able to hit a 6 foot diameter bulls-eye. It’s tough to actually test this on your own, but from fellow player feedback (who used the ball) it is very consistent when shooting. I think this is integral to a good ball. My personal opinion on the Adidas Jabulani (even though I called it the “Tiny Dancer”) was that it failed to help players do what they wanted with the ball. It might have been a nightmare for goalkeepers, but what use is that if top players can control it when shooting or spraying long balls? This is one area that I think the T90 Tracer excels as you are able to knock it where you want with confidence.

T90 Tracer Image T90 Tracer dimples

Design
Evidently, the circle graphic seen running around the ball does serve a useful purpose! In technical speak “the high-contrast asymmetrical graphic generated a strong visual signal, which captures peripheral vision and focuses central vision more rapidly.” And I agree! When knocking this ball around, it is quick easy to spot as you move, especially as the ball circumnavigates the field.

As seen in the English Premier League
Already this season, there have been 86 goals scored in 30 games – an average of 2.9 goals per game. That is a pretty good return, particularly after the drought of goals at this summers World Cup. And the goals being scored have been spectacular. One of the issues at the World Cup was that players couldn’t seem to keep shots on target, but that does not seem to be an issue with the T90 Tracer.

Summary
In closing, I am a huge fan of this ball and it is probably one of the best currently on the market. Companies are spending large amounts of money on developing a soccer ball that ranks amongst the highest available on the market. And with the Adidas Jabulani achieving almost cult status during the World Cup, it was important that Nike released something that rivaled. And in my opinion, the T90 Tracer exceeds the quality seen in other releases. The main difference for me is the consistency that this ball offers on the field. If you are in the market for a new match ball, this is a great option!

Nike Total90 Tracer

Categories: Nike, Soccer Ball, Tested!

About Author

Bryan Byrne

The mastermind behind the revolution that is SoccerCleats101. Bryan started this website back in 2008 and has been testing boots on a daily basis ever since. Check out our About Page for more details on Bryan and the website.

Comments

  1. hani
    hani 4 September, 2010, 09:32

    nice review! But just wondering, why is this ball so expensive, almost at the same price of the jabulani and isnt even thermally bonded, its full of stiching! Isnt a thermally bonded ball with few panels a lot better than stiched balls with 32 panels? If not, then why are adidas lowering the ball's panels??? And each company says about its ball: "…the most accurate ball…" hahaa i just dont get it

    Reply this comment
    • Matt
      Matt 25 April, 2011, 00:06

      um… well actually theres no stitching in the ball… its all compressed panels… and its been proven to be the most accurate ball. it isnt just nike saying it is.

      Reply this comment
  2. Ali
    Ali 4 September, 2010, 20:07

    very good points hani.

    by the way Bryan, is there any difference between the ascente and the tracer. because they seem to have the exact same features like the micro-textured chasing and dimples and the strong graphic and consistency?

    Reply this comment
  3. Ali
    Ali 5 September, 2010, 03:19

    Bryan, can you please do a review also of the new champions league ball

    (adidas finale 10) http://www.soccer.com/IWCatProductPage.process?Me
    because it looks really good.

    and also can you tell me what do you think of the previous adidas balls, the ones with the 14 pannel design like the teamgeist and europass and terra pass. Thanks in advance:)

    Reply this comment
  4. bryan
    bryan Author 5 September, 2010, 07:38

    Hani,

    To be honest, I think it is all about the direction that companies take to find advancements. Soccer is designed around a 32-panel ball, maybe that is the way to continue to develop instead of moving to less panels, thermal bonding and the problems seen at the world cup!

    Ali,

    There are some differences between the Ascente and Tracer, primarily the number of layers that create the great touch with the tracer.

    Reply this comment
  5. 007
    007 5 September, 2010, 09:50

    Thanks Ali,

    Thanks Bryan, i guess your right, but it's hard to think that Adidas will go back to a 32-panel ball after making an 8-panel ball regardless of the criticism!

    Reply this comment
  6. brendan
    brendan 5 September, 2010, 10:01

    have you played at all with the Nike Total90 Catalyst Ball. i was wondering how it compares to the tracer

    Reply this comment
  7. Ali
    Ali 5 September, 2010, 17:25

    Thanks bryan for your answer.

    one more point, adidas says that the jabulani has the highest fifa rating!

    so is there actually a number or a quantified scale for soccer balls given by fifa?

    Reply this comment
  8. bryan
    bryan Author 6 September, 2010, 19:43

    Ali,

    From my understanding, each company has to bring their completed ball to Fifa for inspection before release. For some reason they ranked the Jabulani highly. In fact, I have heard that Adidas were pressured by Fifa to release the ball for the World Cup when they were actually wanted to make a redesign before the competition started!

    Reply this comment
  9. Ali
    Ali 6 September, 2010, 21:45

    wow, these are some interesting news bryan:)

    thanks for clearing things.

    Reply this comment
  10. james walker
    james walker 29 January, 2011, 03:47

    Basically anything less then 32 panels and the ball Knuckles in the air as it just isnt properly aerodynamic, 32 panels is the closest thing to a perfect sphere u can get. Its been this way since the 1950's and it shouldnt be changed

    Reply this comment
  11. james walker
    james walker 29 January, 2011, 08:45

    agree with Bryan, anything below 32 panels and the ball just flys around too much like a beech ball and teh game realy because of it, Fifa should make 32 panels as standard , its no conincidence that all the premier league games with the nike ball are far superior to the FA cup and league which use the rubbish 14 panel balls

    Reply this comment
  12. kenneth
    kenneth 4 February, 2011, 18:56

    Hey bryan is the tracer ball easy to knuckle?

    Reply this comment
  13. James
    James 21 February, 2011, 09:26

    Ken, the nike ball is made with the truncated icosahedron Archimedean design ( lol say that after a few ), and of course these balls dont knuckle, its only when Adidas made the 2006 Teamgiest ball that all the complaints started, what makes me laugh is this boast that its a perfect sphere, it was tested in a US University by a top scientist on aerodynamics and he found that it isnt even which is why you get that wobble effect when struck, i think the biggest problem with these balls is there lack of drag or how quickly they shoot through the air, really makes them hard to get up and down its why no freekicks were scored in the world cup, and also certain passes are almost imposs with this ball, i really think games suffer when this type of ball is used and i hope the trend will move more towards the way Nike are making balls which i think is spot on

    Reply this comment
  14. Willy Wonka
    Willy Wonka 1 April, 2011, 19:05

    The ball looks quite tasty

    Reply this comment
  15. Hsi Chang Kim
    Hsi Chang Kim 21 December, 2011, 18:31

    Hello! I have a question about the tracer ^__^ So I have the Omni (ball from 3 years ago) and after 6 months of play, I noticed that you can see the inner lacing. You can actually see the strings that connect the panels. Is the tracer like that too? Does the panels start to fall apart? Also, what do you suggest to clean the ball?

    Reply this comment

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