On the other hand, replicas (sometimes called training balls or gliders) are designed to be just like the official match balls but are much cheaper. Their panels are often stitched rather than thermally-bonded and are made of a different material. However, they’re not necessarily less durable than official match balls. So, they’re the recommended option for most players.
As always with Nike balls, the Merlin has an excellent feel, particularly when passing. The ball is also great for shooting due to Nike’s 4-panel construction, 360-degree sweet spot technology and the soft polyurethane outer material. It won’t deviate too much in the air due to the thermally-bonded pentagonal panel layout, so it’s perfect for training as well as games.
Latex bladders are used in high-quality balls. These kind of bladders are soft and provide good feeling. They offer better response and bounce than Butyl bladders, but the downside of this kind of bladder is they don’t hold the air for too long. As a result, they require filling more frequently. Air escapes due to micropores on the cover, but nowadays some balls are constructed with carbon latex bladder to help to close these micropores. As a result, the balls can hold air for a longer period.
This ball has a TPU cover that we wouldn’t describe as “highly durable” for rough play. Although it handles indoor turf, it won’t handle concrete, gravel, or court-based play like you have with futsal. This ball prefers to have a natural or artificial grass surface and that is about it. If you happen to impact a tree, run the ball on concrete, or have it bounce on a gravel driveway, the outer cover does tend to get scratched up pretty rapidly. The butyl bladder is of a higher quality than other balls at this price point, allowing the ball to hold its inflation pressure with an impressive amount of consistency.
The outer casing of a soccer ball is composed of panels made from synthetic materials, such as PVC, PU, or a combination, sewn or glued together. Soccer ball casings are rarely leather anymore, since leather tends to absorb moisture making the ball heavier and not perform as well. The number of panels or sections of the outer casing varies according to design. Most professional soccer balls are the 32-panel design. More panels mean a rounder and stabler ball, and a more accurate flight.
Controlling the game is everything. From touch, shape, and movement, to flight of the ball, the construction of your soccer ball can impact how well you command the pitch. Competitive soccer players usually have different types of soccer balls for training, match day or just to kick around. See the options below for choosing the right adidas soccer ball for your favorite type of play.