Soccer Buying Guide

BALLS

When purchasing a soccer ball, you need to choose the right size and the right material. Soccer balls come in three different sizes which range from size 3 to size 5. It is important to choose the right cover in addition to the size. Your choice in cover depends on how much money you want to spend and your skill level.

SOCCER BALL SIZES

  • Size 3
    • Smallest
    • For children under 8
    • Generally 23-24 inches in circumference and weigh between 11-12 ounces
  • Size 4
    • For children between the ages of 8 and 12
    • Generally  25-26 inches in circumference and weigh between 12-13 ounces
  • Size 5
    • International standard match ball for ages 13 and older
    • Generally 27-28 inches in circumference and weigh between 14 and 16 ounces

SOCCER BALL COVER MATERIALS

  • Synthetic
    • Best quality
    • Superior feel and softness
    • More expensive
    • Less durable and water-resistant
  • Polyurethane
    • Very durable (slightly less than PVC)
    • Leather-like feel
    • Often have glossy coating for additional protection
  • PVC
    • Least expensive
    • Very durable, scuff-resistant, and water-resistant
    • Less softness than polyurethane
    • Often have glossy coating for additional protection

SHIN GUARDS

It is important to understand the types and materials of shin guards.

TYPES OF SHIN GUARDS

  • Slip-In Shin Guards
    • Provide a lightweight shield without any closures or stirrups
    • Give your foot the widest range of motion
    • No ankle protection
  • Ankle Shin Guards
    • Ankle protection
    • Highly recommended for younger players
  • Shin Socks
    • Combination of soccer sock and a protective foam shin guard
    • Not as much protection as other shin guards

 

CLEATS

The most important piece of equipment for soccer players is the footwear.  Also called boots, a good pair of cleats is essential. There are different variations of cleats for different skill levels, weather conditions, and field types.

TYPES OF CLEATS

  • Molded Cleats
    • Basic
    • Non-removable rubber or hard plastic
    • Ideal for beginning and intermediate level players
    • Suited for all field types and weather conditions
  • Detachable Cleats
    • Studs can be easily replaced
    • Different lengths and types for different weather and field conditions
    • Typically hard plastic or plastic with metal tips
    • Ideal for experienced players
  • Turf Shoes
    • Raised patterns instead of studs
    • For use on harder outdoor surfaces and on artifical turf
  • Indoor Shoes
    • Low-cut, lightweight
    • As name suggests, for indoor play
    • Flat, rubbery bottom for better traction
    • Required by many indoor facilities for play
  • Sandals
    • Worn before game
    • Easy to slip on and off
    • Comfortable

CLEAT MATERIALS

  • Leather
    • More expensive
    • Offer the best feel and fit
    • Not recommended for wet fields, but water treatment options are available
  • Synthetic
    • Ideal for most entry and mid-level players
    • Less expensive than leather
    • Better for poor playing conditions
    • Easy to clean