With such a selection of soccer balls available, it can be hard to choose one that fits your needs. Nike soccer balls are some of the best on the market, with a variety of choices across a range of prices.
If you’re in the market for a new ball, you’ve come to the right place. Today we’re putting Nike soccer balls under the telescope and discussing important topics like:
- How soccer balls came to be
- Leagues that use Nike soccer balls
- Difference between training and match-grade balls
- Types of Nike balls
- Soccer ball sizes
Do you know what makes a professional quality soccer ball? Read on to find out.
List Of Nike Soccer Balls
In the early years, the Premier League might have used the same ball design for more than one season. However, these days we see a new variation every year.
Let’s take a trip down memory lane and take a look at the Nike balls throughout the Premier League era:
|2000 – 2002||Nike Geo Merlin & Geo Merlin Vapor|
|2004 – 2006||Nike Total 90 Aerow I|
|2006 – 2008||Nike Total 90 Aerow II|
|2008/09||Nike Total 90 Omni|
|2009/10||Nike Total 90 Ascent|
|2010/11||Nike Total 90 Tracer|
|2014/15||Nike Ordem 2|
|2015/16||Nike Ordem 3|
|2016/17||Nike Ordem 4|
|2017/18||Nike Ordem V|
|2019/20||Nike Merlin (updated)|
|2021/22||Nike Flight (updated)|
nike Soccer Balls FAQs
What Leagues Use Nike Soccer Balls?
Taking the most popular soccer countries into account, the biggest leagues that use Nike soccer balls include:
- Premier League (England)
- Serie A (Italy)
- Campeoneto Brasileiro (Brazil)
- Chinese Super League (China)
What Make Of Ball Is Used In The Premier League?
Nike is the exclusive manufacturer of Premier League soccer balls. It has been the official ball partner of the league since the 2000/01 season. The latest league ball is the Nike Flight.
Nike Flight Ball
The official competition-grade ball for Nike-sponsored professional leagues is the Nike Flight. Nike is reported to have spent over 8 years developing the ball, putting in 1,700 hours of stringent testing.
The main idea behind the design is to create a ball with consistent flight and movement, directly addressing one of the main criticisms that any soccer ball is likely to face.
The Nike Flight contains Aerowsculpt technology. This is essentially a type of molding that’s etched into the surface of the ball. The grooves improve the aerodynamics, similar to dimples on a golf ball. Nike claims that its new ball has a 30% truer flight than the previous model (Nike Merlin).
The Flight is built with a 4-panel design, reducing in-air wobble and providing a more predictable flight pattern. It has fewer stiff seams compared to a traditional 12-panel design.
The textured all-conditions control ink reacts well with cleats, providing excellent grip regardless of the weather or playing surface.
What Soccer Ball Does La Liga Use?
La Liga has used Puma as their official game-ball partner for the past five seasons, ending several decades of a partnership with Nike. In the 2021/22 season, La Liga used two different balls throughout the season: the Puma Accelerate 2 and the Puma Adrenalina 2.
Puma La Liga Accelerate 2
The Accelerate 2 is crafted from polyurethane (PU) leather. This is artificial leather made from thermoplastic polymer. It is soft and durable, making it one of the best materials for soccer. The Accelerate 2 is a competition-grade ball, made with an eight-panel design.
The PU surface contains carefully designed grooves for enhanced aerodynamics. It has a consistent and manageable flight pattern, making it a favorite among fans as well. The Puma airlock seal is a major contributor to the consistent feel and also provides excellent air retention.
Good air retention is a feature that makes this a popular ball for amateurs or semi-professional leagues. It helps the ball retain its shape and perform optimally for longer.
Puma La Liga Adrenalina 2
La Liga added a second official game ball for the 2021/22 season. The Puma Adrenalina was introduced specifically for big games, decisive ties, and derby games, like El Classico. Hence the name “adrenalina”. Its design is based on the Puma Adrenalina from the 2020/21 season, with some upgrades and modifications.
While most leagues use a second ball for winter games, La Liga opts to use fluorescent or bright colored balls for important games. Spain’s year-round sunshine means there is rarely a need for a weather-related ball change.
This ball is built similarly to the Accelerate, featuring an 8-panel design that reduces the required number of seams. These large panels increase the striking surface, allowing for a cleaner connection with the ball. The polyolefin elastomers (POE) foam provides additional firmness for consistent trajectory and rebounds consistency.
What Is The Difference Between Pitch And Strike Soccer Balls?
The Nike Pitch and Strike are two popular ball designs released over the past few seasons. Essentially, both are for practice. They are quite cheap when compared to the Nike Flight or other competition-grade options.
What Is a Pitch Team Soccer Ball?
The Nike Pitch is an affordable ball designed for recreational soccer or training. It features a 12-panel design, which is one of the most popular styles of the past decade. The panels are large enough to create a solid striking surface, allowing for an accurate and consistent flight trajectory.
The Pitch ball is characterized by its bright graphics and color options. It is known for being quite durable compared to other balls in its price range.
Nike Strike Ball
The Nike Strike has had several variations over the past decade. However, the original Strike continues to be a popular budget-friendly option for recreational players. It is also a best-seller as a training option for school or local teams.
The Strike also has the signature 12-panel foam design, providing a good feel and seamless ball control. It is one of the first models to feature Nike’s Aerowtrac groove technology, offering a consistent and stable flight trajectory.
Is Nike Strike Durable?
The main criticism of the Nike Strike is its durability. The majority of negative online reviews refer to its lack of resilience, with many buyers claiming the ball doesn’t last longer than a single season.
The Strike is reported to be particularly susceptible to wear and tear in tough conditions, causing it to lose its shape.
Types Of Nike Soccer Balls
There have been countless types of Nike soccer balls over the years. Nike releases balls in a range of sizes to cater to youth and adult players. Nike also creates different types of balls for variations of soccer, like futsal, beach soccer, and indoor soccer.
Many fans don’t realize that there are stark differences between regular balls and those used for indoor games.
For example, a futsal ball is slightly smaller than a regulation-size soccer ball. Since indoor soccer is based on speed and ground-based play, the ball is designed to stay low. The panels are built from firm materials, reducing their responsiveness to bouncing or rebounding.
The smaller size makes it more difficult to strike the ball sweetly. Its firmness makes it seem heavier.
Nike Soccer Balls Size 5
Size 5 is the regulation size for a soccer ball. Once players reach the age of 12, they start to use this size of a ball. In teen, adult, and professional leagues, teams compete with a size 5 ball.
Nike manufactures all of its main ball designs in size 5. It is the highest-selling size ball because it’s the most commonly used. Even though kids’ games are contested using smaller balls, many younger players use size 5s when playing with friends or practicing in the backyard.
Nike Soccer Balls Size 4
Size 4 balls are used predominantly by 8 to 12-year-old soccer players. Nike produces most of its popular designs in size 4 as well as size 5. Futsal balls are also size 4.
Nike Premier League Soccer Ball
As we discussed, Nike has been the exclusive ball partner of the Premier League for over 20 seasons. This relationship has seen many notable designs throughout the years. Exclusive sponsorships like this, enable Nike to continue developing and testing new designs each year.
The progression of the balls over the years has led to the creation of Nike’s most spectacular release yet. However you feel about the aesthetics, many recognize the Flight as the best performing ball in the Premier League’s history.
A Brief History Of The Soccer Ball
While soccer dates all the way back to ancient China (second and third centuries BC), the game as we know it today has been around since the 1800s.
The first balls of this era were made from animal bladders and stomachs, predominantly from pigs. Early adopters of the game learned to inflate these bladders sufficiently enough to kick around.
Rubber Soccer Balls
In 1936, vulcanized rubber was patented by Charles Goodyear. This made it possible for manufacturers to produce rubberized products. From this point, rubber inner bladders were created, giving soccer balls a more predictable flight and movement pattern when kicked.
The first true iteration of the ball used in the modern game was created in 1962. It was a 32-panel ball, designed specifically for touch, feel, and precision.
From here, sports equipment manufacturers continued to develop soccer balls using technological innovations. We’ve seen many different styles throughout the years, some of which were less popular than others.
Adidas has been the center of controversy for several soccer balls used in World Cup tournaments. 2002, 2006, and 2010 balls were created using innovative designs, different types of foams, and unorthodox panel shapes.
Light Soccer Balls
Many players criticized these balls for being too light or for having unpredictable movement.
The 2010 World Cup ball, called the Jabulani, was heavily criticized by goalkeepers in particular. Iker Casillas likened it to a beach ball, while England’s David James had this to say:
“The ball is dreadful…there are undoubtedly going to be some goals scored in this tournament which in previous tournaments with different balls wouldn’t have been scored. It’ll allow some people to score extra goals, but leave some goalkeepers looking daft.”David James, 2010
Nike soccer balls have always been known for their reliability. Nike has long been one of the highest-selling soccer ball brands in the world.