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Best footballs 2020: Nike, Adidas or Mitre? Now you're allowed out, these are the top balls for training, matches – or playing in the park

Premier League ball
(Image credit: PA)

What's the best football to buy? How long have you got...

Back in your grandad's day, all footballs were orange, made of thick leather and soaked a wet pitch up like a sponge. You'd get a concussion from heading one. 

Nowadays, however, the balls are just like the boots and shirts in football: multicoloured, lightweight and a fashion accessory as much as a piece of equipment.

With so many footballs to choose from online, what's best for the type of game you're planning? Of course, we've omitted the option as seen in Mike Bassett: England Manager of training without a ball at all. 


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Nike Flight new Premier League ball February 2021

(Image credit: Nike)

Premier League Nike Flight

For the final third of the season, there's a brand new, Aerow-inspired Nike Flight

Incredible design
All the regular tech of the Nike Flight
Easily visible

Remember the classic Nike balls with the Blue ring around them, that Thierry Henry used to wallop from 30 yards towards unsuspecting keepers?

That's the inspiration for the latest Nike Flight ball, to be used for the final parts of the season. This is the second season in a row that Nike have brought out a match ball for the closing stages of the season - we're not mad at it, either. The more awesome designs like this, the better. 

Nike Flight

(Image credit: Nike)

Nike Premier League Hi-Vis Flight

The winter version of the most hi-tech ball you'll ever see

8 years and 1,700 hours of testing
Hazard-tape look
Looks great in low-light

You know the drill by now. You get a lovely white Nike ball up until November before a yellow version comes in and blows your mind.

This year is no different and the yellow Nike Flight is particularly tasty. With hazard tape pattern and the same blue and red, this is comprehensively the only football that you need to be taking to the park when it gets dark at 4.30pm. Lovely stuff.

Nike Flight New Premier League ball 2020/21

(Image credit: Nike)

Nike Premier League Flight

The official ball of the greatest league on Earth - it's unswervingly beautiful

Fantastic look
Honed over 8 years and 1,700 hours of testing
Moulded grooves to reduce unexpected movement

This is it - the ball that Nike have been busy building over nearly a decade for the Premier League. The most high-tech ball that we've even seen on these shores, this is the ball that the likes of Harry Kane been assisting with this season.  

“The most important thing about a ball is being able to put it where you want it every time,” Kane said of this beast. “Consistency is the most important thing, and it’s so important to have confidence in the ball you’re playing with.”

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Nike Strike Football

(Image credit: Nike)

Nike Premier League Strike

It's the cheaper version and available in another colour

Great value
Almost identical to the original
Alternate colour option
Not quite as high-tech as the official ball

Perhaps you're looking to spend a little less on a football than £125. Or maybe, you're just insistent that your football has to be cyan, "hyper royal" blue and "laser orange".

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Either way, the Strike is the cheaper replica version of the Flight. It also soars through the air and it feels fantastic. If you're looking for a new ball to take to the park this summer, this will still impress your mates.

Nike Flight football, Premier League ball

(Image credit: Nike)

Nike Flight ball

The original: the minimal ball that the Nike Premier League ball is based on

Minimal look
All the same goodness as the Flight
Crosses and dots make the design feel like a prototype
Isn't colourful. Boo.

This is the more minimal version of the Prem ball next season - and it still looks awesome.

The press release for this design explains how it incorporates "Nike’s new AerowSculpt technology, delivering a measurable benefit of 30% truer flight than its Nike predecessor." Which basically means a hell of a lot of science went into making this as aerodynamically perfect as a ball can be. Eight years worth of science, in fact. 

It looks minimal, has been engineered to within an inch of its life and your heroes are going to be kicking one just like it about throughout the 2020-21 campaign. What more do you need to know? 

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(Image credit: -)

Nike Pitch Team Soccer Ball Football Training

The bare basic option for a kickabout with your mates

Available in five colours
Looks cool
A little too basic for some

The Nike Pitch Team Soccer Ball is perfect for any kind of game. It's available in sizes up to 5 - that's the official match size, by the way - and comes in white, yellow, red, green and orange.

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Yes, it's about as exciting as a League Cup game. But if you want something plain, inoffensive and able to serve you in any kind of set-up, this is the ball for you. 

(Image credit: -)

Nike Premier League 19/20 Strike Football

The pick of the Prem for if you're looking to ball like Vardy and Aguero

Beautiful design
Huge panels for clean contact
Grooves within the ball to make it fly
Becomes out of fashion by August

Introduced after the yellow winter ball to see us out until the end of the season, this particular Strike was left in the cupboard while we sit tight in lockdown. It's been a summer ball since, and it's looked beautiful this past six weeks. 

Still, it's a gorgeous design. This ball feels thoroughly modern in a landscape of retrotopia and despite its limited action, it's a great ball to play with. 

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Adidas Tango Street Skillz Futsal Ball

A street ball camo twist on an old classic: you know when you've been tango'd

Cool design
Not too loud
Highly durable
Not ideal for grass pitches

Ajax have reportedly fully embraced street football in their academy, building concrete strips for their young proteges to play on, as if outside their houses. 

The company who stitch their kits - Adidas - are fully behind this idea. Their Street Skillz ball is perfect for that kind of kickabout; it doesn't take to grass quite as well but if you're on a hard surface, this is most definitely the football you need.

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Puma teamFINAL ball

Let the cat out of the (training) bag

Clean design
Classic panels
Perfect for training
Naff colours

Puma's teamFINAL effort might sound like the kind of ball you'd use in a showpiece, but it's also perfect for training with. The company are now tasked with Manchester City's shirt-making so if you're looking for a ball to match, this could well be the product for you.

This ball is labelled as "Unisex" too. In case that's important.

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Adidas Tango Glider Ball

Proper old-style football to evoke the 90s

Retro design
Original Adidas logo
Machine seams
Pressure stays in the ball for longer
Feels a little lightweight

You can almost see Dennis Bergkamp taking this ball down with a velvet touch, bamboozling an Argentinian defender and slotting it into the net. 

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It's amazing what classic design can evoke and this Adidas Tango ball is no different. Old school isn't everyone's cup of tea but this retro design is a fantastic update on one of history's favourite footballs.

(Image credit: -)

Mitre Impel Training Football

Feel high and Mitre with this versatile training ball

Four colour options
Perfect for all weathers
Good ball visually for training with
The white version looks like a knockoff Europa League ball

Mitre is a sleeping giant of the game. The ball suppliers for the FA Cup and EFL, their brand perhaps doesn't get the respect it deserves, but the Impel Plus is a fantastic ball for training with.

With some double-hexagon panels and a dynamic design, this football feels great in training. If you're hoping to improve specific parts of your game, the arrows on the ball will give you a chance check your curling or where you're hitting the ball.

(Image credit: -)

Adidas Champions League Capitano Tournament ball

The ball of Europe's elite, finished off with a slick new colour palette

Charcoal/orange palette looks great
Champions League branding is awesome
Triangular panels feel a bit odd

The Champions League ball is iconic. Just like that operatic anthem, it's an ever-present that the tournament wouldn't be the same without: fancy taking it to the park?

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This particular effort is durable and built for training. It brings a design of prestige down to street level and