Whether you are looking to strike shots upper V, playing some short passes out of the back or putting in a full body dive to keep it out of the net, we all love a top performing soccer ball. With fall seasons fast approaching, we figured it would be the ideal time to get to grips with the current top options on the market. We are talking premium balls here, and what are the best of the best on offer from the big brands.
Over the past few weeks, we have spent some time with each individually, as well as sessions where we tested each against another. Having the opportunity to play around with several new soccer balls at once is about as fun as it gets! But in the midst of that fun, we did take into consideration the key characteristics of each ball. Thanksfully, none let us down – but there are plenty of differences between each. We’ve highlighted them below, now all that is left to do is for you to pick your favorite.
Check the entire line-up of balls on the market, available at soccer.com.
Nike Ordem 3
What is seen as the “premier” ball since it is used in most of the top European leagues. If you watch the Barclays Premier League, La Liga BBVA and Serie A TIM, it is the ball you will see flying around the pitch, with each league having its own colorway. The Ordem 3 is seen to be the most advanced ball ever released to market by Nike. It delivers accurate flight, consistent touch and maximum visibility.
The surface consists of a geometric 12-panel design that enhances the Ordem 3’s flight, whilst pressure is distributed evenly across the ball. The result is a consistent, accurate and powerful feel, with the first touch optimized by a fuse-welded synthetic leather casing. This reliable and responsive first touch is combined with an explosive strike – a 6-wing, carbon-latex air chamber allows the Ordem 3 to accelerate off the foot at pace.
Highlight: Nike has been consistent with the Ordem through 3 releases, and that tells you that they are confident with the final product. The lightly textured casing provides a clean touch, while it really does feel clean to strike.
Adidas Finale 15
The official UCL match ball – that is the claim to fame for the Finale 15. This version continues to boast the traditional and world famous star panel design but with a twist – it features a reinterpretation of the elements contained on the city crest of Milan – the location for this year’s UEFA Champions League Final.
We’ve actually had this ball in testing for a few weeks and the most interesting aspect of it is the snake skin element on the stars. Basically, there is extra definition and a raised texture feel that runs across a blue snake skin pattern. This provides additional traction on the ball and if striked correctly, improves the amount of spin you can get on shots.
Highlight: Love the clean design on this one, and it is one of the best on the list to strike shots with. The aerodynamics are perfectly balanced on the Finale 15, ensuring you get good distance on clean strikes.
Select BRILLANT SUPER 2015
There are several colorways available for the BRILLANT SUPER 2015, but this neon yellow version is definitely our favorite! Independent testing shows that the hand-sewn BRILLANT SUPER has better aerodynamic stability than most other professional quality balls currently on the market. The classic construction with 32 panels means that the ball meets resistance later in its flight through the air than other popular thermo-bonded balls . Less resistance allows the ball remains at a steady, high speed over a long period of time.
The new design of the exterior hides a soccer ball constructed of specially-developed Japanese TEIJIN microfiber. The new microfiber makes the ball seem significantly softer than its predecessor. Without compromising on material thickness or adding foam, we have achieved a thoroughly tested feeling of liveliness and lightness – while naturally also preserving the good characteristics such as control and stability that have always characterized a BRILLANT SUPER.
Highlight: This is a great ball for striking. In fact, if you lined all the balls on this list up together, this would be the ball I’d run to strike first! There is a natural feel as you follow through on the ball, with a real nice padding that adds a unique level of control.
Puma evoPOWER 1 Statement
One place you will get to see the evoPOWER 1 Statement in action is during international friendlies of Puma federations. The material used is an innovative duo-density EVA foam backing. Puma has looked to provide soft touch, improved consistency of rebound, and explosive power through strikes. There is no seems in this one, instead a high-frequency molded construction creates excellent form retention and durability. You also get a very noticeable dual-textured dimple casing. To the touch there is two different levels of texture. Along the region where the red cat sits, it is rougher than the multi colored panels.
Adding to the appeal of the ball, Puma also create “dead ball” target areas for increased accuracy. It provides a focal point for striking if you take free kicks or corners.
Highlight: Visually, I absolutely love this ball. The design is clean and extremely easy to spot in play. There is also an extra level of padding through the casing, which makes for great first touch. It is the type of ball you want to use for juggling and working on ball control.
Retail: $120 (currently on sale)
Senda Volta Fair Trade
One of the key aspects of the Senda Volta ball is the “fair trade” symbol that sits on the casing of the ball. All Senda balls are fair trade, ensuring that the ball producers meet social, economic and environmental criteria, and that there is no child labor. This immediately creates a unique dynamic to what is easily a top rated ball on the market.
The material used on the ball is a 1.8 mm thick Japanese Cordley PU, with a light sponge feel. The surface is smooth, but it holds a leather like feel that ensures there is some grip on the surface when used in wet conditions. Striking the ball, it feels a little heavier than others on the list, but that ensures a firmer strike without much movement. In other words, it is easy to control when taking snap shots or looking to ping a ball across the pitch.
Highlight: If you appreciate fair trade and want a more traditional style ball that offers excellent flight and feel, this is the premier option on the market. A little extra weight ensures a truer flight as you strike low profile shots.
Adidas Euro Qualifier
The official match ball for the Euro 2016 Qualifying matches. Adidas took the Brazuca (used at the World Cup) and re-designed to created the ball teams across Europe will play with as they fight to reach the Euro Finals in France next summer. The design consists of six wing like panels that interlock and are bonded for reduced water absorption and perfect roundness. There is also plenty of definition across the surface, like a micro-dimple design that provides extra grip as you take first touch on the ball.
Out of all the balls on the list, the Euro Qualifier has the lightest feel and is definitely the ball with the most movement through strikes. It is designed for never-before-seen power, swerve and control. I’d agree with 2 of 3 here, with control being the odd one out. Strikers will really enjoy the power and unforgiving trajectory you can get on the ball, but goalkeepers won’t!
Highlight: An extremely dynamic ball that follows as an updated version of the popular Brazuca. There is a light feel about this ball that ensures you get extreme pop behind shots and a level of unpredictability to upset keepers!
Diadora Serie A II
We couldn’t complete a list like this without including a classically inspired match ball that is available at a much more economical price. Top of that list would be the Diadora Serie A II, a 32-panel ball that holds an iconic Italian look. It is a simple option that provides quality consistency thanks to an extremely durable with heat molded seams and a PU cover.
Is it the type of ball that offers the pop found from other balls on this list? Simply put, it doesn’t. But it still offers great feel and touch, with a true flight path through strikes.
Highlight: Personally, I thoroughly enjoyed the simple performance of this ball. You don’t get a whole host of modern advanced technology updates. See this as your more traditional ball that will easily last a season and provide a great look through play. It also comes NFHS approved.
To summarize, these are all quality balls. The unfortunate part is the high end price of each, but you are paying for what you get and the difference in quality is evident. Out of the entire list, I’d have to give my personal favorite nomination to the Select Brillant Super. The ball is quality and has the perfect balance of weight and surface rebound for striking shots.
Got another ball that you would add to the list or want to read a more in-depth review of? If so, let us know down below and we will try get our hands on one.