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.
Nike Premier League Flight
The official ball of the greatest league on Earth - it's unswervingly beautiful
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 will be using next 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.”
Nike Premier League Strike
It's the cheaper version and available in another colour
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".
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 ball
The original: the minimal ball that the Nike Premier League ball is based on
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?
Nike Pitch Team Soccer Ball Football Training
The bare basic option for a kickabout with your mates
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.
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.
Nike Premier League 19/20 Strike Football
The pick of the Prem for if you're looking to ball like Vardy and Aguero
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.
Adidas Tango Street Skillz Futsal Ball
A street ball camo twist on an old classic: you know when you've been tango'd
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.
Puma teamFINAL ball
Let the cat out of the (training) bag
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.
Adidas Tango Glider Ball
Proper old-style football to evoke the 90s
You can almost see Dennis Bergkamp taking this ball down with a velvet touch, bamboozling an Argentinian defender and slotting it into the net.
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.
Mitre Impel Training Football
Feel high and Mitre with this versatile training 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.
Adidas Champions League Capitano Tournament ball
The ball of Europe's elite, finished off with a slick new colour palette
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?
This particular effort is durable and built for training. It brings a design of prestige down to street level and
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