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Best footballs for training, matches and more

With so many different types of football available, it can be hard to know what to buy. Check out our handy guide to the best footballs for all skill levels and ages.

By Laura Martin | Last updated Sep 15, 2021

We’ve had a busy footballing year after a difficult 2020, with everything from grassroots to the Premier League and the Euros finally back on track, and you may be looking for a new ball to get your kids back in the game.

You could be forgiven for thinking one football is much the same as another but, as any keen footballer or parent of a keen footballer will tell you, this isn’t the case. There’s a huge range of footballs out there depending on the age or skill level of the player, or the specific game that’s being played. 

What might be the perfect ball for a muddy Saturday morning training session with a team of eight-year-olds won’t necessarily be right for an indoor five-a-side game with a group of grown-ups who are slightly past their best. 

To help make sense of the specifics, we’ve created this helpful rundown of the best footballs you can buy in a range of categories - from Premier League-worthy offerings to soft balls for toddlers.

Here are the best footballs for 2021.

1. Best overall football: Adidas Unforia Euro 2020 Football

adidas uniforia football

Price: £29.11 | Buy now from Amazon

This replica of Adidas’s Euro 2020 match ball is a great buy if you’re looking for a decent size 5 option for training and matches. 

It’s likely more than you need to spend if you just want something for a kick around in the park, but if you’re buying for a gift or a kids’ team that wants a stylish but durable football which will last a full season then this is a good choice.

Pros

  • Stylish ball that comes fully inflated

Cons

  • Not cheap

Key specs

  • Size: 5
  • Material: 100% TPU

2. Best budget football: Nike Premier League Pitch Ball

nike pitch football

Price: From £13.75 | Buy now from Amazon

If you’re looking for a good all-rounder suitable for both indoor and outdoor football, then the Premier League Pitch Ball from Nike is a good bet. 

It’s not as expensive as it’s older sibling, which features in actual Premier League games, but it certainly looks the part and will take a fair few kicks before it retires too.

Pros

  • Great value for money
  • Available in three different sizes

Cons

  • Requires inflation, so make sure you have a ball pump to hand

Key specs

  • Size: 3, 4 and 5
  • Material: 60% rubber, 15% polyurethane, 13% polyester and 12% EVA

3. Best football for matches: Nike Premier League Official Match Flight Football

Nike Premier League Flight Football

Price: £124.99 | Buy now from Sports Direct

The best match football you can buy is the Nike Flight Match Football which is the official ball of the Premier League and a masterpiece of craftsmanship. 

Years of research and testing go into creating an elite ball of this type, which has been perfectly honed to increase stability and reduce drag when in flight, resulting in noticeably more accurate passing and shooting. 

All Conditions Control (ACC) technology increases grip so your first touch is more effective in wet weather. All in all, a superb buy for a wannabe pro.

Pros

  • Made with the best football technology to improve your game

Cons

  • Expensive

Key specs

  • Size: 5
  • Material: 37% synthetic leather, 33% rubber, 20% polyester and 10% cotton

4. Best football for training: Mitre Impel Training Football

mitre impel football

From £8 | Buy now from Amazon

Known for outstanding value and durability, Mitre makes some of the best footballs around and you’ll soon see why. 

This training ball comes highly recommended by thousands of happy buyers and is at home on a muddy pitch as an indoor surface, plus the extra strong outer layer retains air so well you will hardly have to pump it up at all. 

If you want a slightly better quality ball with a more textured outer layer then take a look at the Mitre Impel Max, which costs just a little more but offers increased responsiveness to your first touch giving you more control and accuracy.

Pros

  • Great value 
  • Various sizes to suit all ages

Cons

  • Tough outer layer not as responsive to the touch as other balls

Key specs

  • Size: 2, 3, 4 and 5
  • Material: 100% TPU

5. Best indoor football: Mitre Ultimatch Indoor Football

mitre indoor football

Price: From £14.95 | Buy now from Amazon

Any football can be used indoors of course, but some are designed solely for that purpose. When a ball is used indoors, it typically needs to be heavier so that it doesn’t have as much bounce, plus it will have a softer, felt surface to reduce the noise impact. 

This ball from Mitre is great for use in sports halls or schools and is available in two sizes if you want a small football for kids.

Pros

  • Felt cover for indoor use
  • Good choice of sizes

Cons

  • Not suitable for outdoor use
  • Needs inflating

Key specs

  • Size: 4 and 5
  • Material: 33% polyester and 67% rubber 

6. Best baby football: Yanyodo Mini Football

Yanyodo Mini Football

Price: £9.98 | Buy now from Amazon

If you’re keen to get your budding Messi on the ball from an early age then this mini football is perfect for littles ones to start building up their skills. 

It has a durable outer layer which means it can be used both indoors and out, but it’s soft enough that you can let your child loose without it being able to do any damage to them - or the furniture!

Pros

  • Suitable for indoors and outdoors
  • Lightweight

Cons

  • Requires inflation 

Key specs

  • Size: 1.5 (14cm diameter)
  • Material: 100% TPU

7. Best football for younger children: Lionstrike Size 4 Lite Football

lionstrike football

Price: £13.39 | Buy now from Amazon

This size 4 football from Lionstrike is 20 percent lighter than a normal ball, making it perfect for kids who can’t quite handle the impact and weight of a full size ball (the manufacturers reckon it’s suitable for ages seven to 13). 

Because of its weight, it’s much more responsive, so it’s great for practicing ball control and shooting, plus it can be kicked much further, meaning football is a lot more fun for those just starting out.

Pros

  • 20% lighter than a normal football
  • Durable - made of four layers with a PU leather coating

Cons

  • Requires inflation

Key specs

  • Size: 4
  • Material: Polyurethane

8. Most innovative football: Football Flick Kids' Urban Return Ball

flick urban return football

Price: £29.99 | Buy now from Amazon

If you’re short on outdoor space or  looking for a gift for a footy-obsessed youngster with all the kit, then look no further than this football and weight set which allows for solo training even in the tiniest of gardens. 

Simply adjust the length of the cord to suit the size of your space, place the weight on the ground and then let them kick away to their heart’s content, safe in the knowledge that you won’t lose any more balls over the neighbour’s fence.

Pros

  • Safe and easy way to enjoy football and limit potential damage
  • Ball can be used separately

Cons

  • The ball may not be as durable as other balls

Key specs

  • Size: 5
  • Material: n/a

9. Best football for older kids: Mitre Delta EFL Replica Football

mitre delta football

Price: £13 | Buy now from Argos

The Delta EFL Replica Football is another great ball by Mitre and a decent replica of the EFL’s official ball, the Delta. It’s amazing value for money but still comes with all the durability needed to withstand hours of training and match play. 

It comes deflated but, once inflated, it has a great weight which will avoid it flying off into the distance as well as a foam-backed lining which helps with control. 

Pros

  • Great value
  • Like all Mitre balls it stays inflated for longer than other brands

Cons

  • Requires inflation

Key specs

  • Size: 5
  • Material: Polyurethane

10. Best football for futsal: Mitre Impel Futsal Football

mitre impel futsal football

Price: From £14.08 | Buy now from Amazon

If you’re not too familiar, futsal is a game very similar to indoor five-a-side football, but it’s played on a smaller, hard pitch with lines, rather than walls or boards, requiring greater ball control. 

It’s growing in popularity, particularly among children and requires a unique ball which is designed to assist with control on a hard surface where passes are made within a small space. 

This ball from Mitre has been designed with these needs in mind, making it the perfect pick for a budding futsal team who want to get to grips with the game. 

Pros

  • Engineered for close quarter passing and ball control

Cons

  • Requires inflation

Key specs

  • Size: 3 and 4
  • Material: 36% polyester, 8% polyurethane, 18% EVA and 38% rubber

How do I pick a good football? 

To pick the right football, you first need to know exactly how it will be used and who will be playing with it. The main considerations are the size and cost of the ball, as well as the surface it will be used on and in what specific game format. 

  • Size: Footballs generally come in sizes 3, 4 and 5 although mini balls are available for toddlers. A size 3 football is appropriate for ages three to seven, a size 4 football is appropriate for ages seven to 13 and a size 5 football is appropriate for ages 13+. 
  • Cost: If your ball is for use in a garden or for a kick around in the park then prepare to lose footballs regularly, so it’s not worth spending much more than £10 - we would recommend the Mitre Impel Training Football as the best ball for you. However, if you need a football for organised teams and matches then be prepared to pay a little more. It’s still not necessary to pay much more than £15 to £20 for a decent ball even for use by adults, although if you want something more stylish for a gift or occasion then you may want to increase your budget.
  • Playing surface and format: Any ball can, of course, be used on any surface but there is usually an optimal ball for the surface that’s being played on. A football that will be used on grass can be a little less durable than a ball that is going to be used on a playground, on astroturf or on any other rough surface. Indoor balls are usually a little softer with a felt surface, and they don’t need quite so much bounce because they require more control. Similarly, a ball for futsal is specially engineered to meet the challenges of the specific game.

Are expensive footballs worth it?

Unless you’re playing in an elite team, or you want to experience the exact sensation of playing with a professional ball, then an expensive football is probably not worth paying the extra money for. There are some great replicas available which still have the style of the original football, but come at a fraction of the cost. 

What is the best football?

We think that the best football you can buy, if you’re looking for a decent ball suitable for most types of games, is the Adidas Unforia Euro 2020 Soccer Ball which is a superb replica of the ball used during the Euro 2020 matches.

How we chose our recommendations

Because we know that there’s nothing like a real recommendation from a real parent, we first headed to the Mumsnet forums to find out which footballs discerning Mumsnet users had bought for their families. 

We then did some research across the wider web, looking at which footballs had won accolades or been featured in ‘best buy’ lists across websites and print media, and what customers' reviews said about them. Having collated all that information, we picked the footballs we thought would make the best buys in several interest categories.

Why you should trust us

We work hard to provide unbiased, independent advice you can trust. We do sometimes earn revenue through affiliate (click-to-buy) links in our articles. This helps us fund more helpful articles like this one.