The complete guide to football sizes & types
If you’re not sure which size of football you need, we’re here to tell you everything you need to know.
The great thing about the beautiful game is the fact that all you need to play it is one single, reasonably round football. But, if you’ve recently ballooned all your footballs into the local river or they've seen the angry side of a thornbush, that has likely put an abrupt halt to your play.
Whether you need a new football to replicate famous goals down the park with pals, or you need one to tire the kids out for a few hours, you’ll definitely need to know which size is perfect for the job.
With various sizes and styles available on the market, we’re here to run you through which sizes and types will make the best footballs for your needs.
Jump straight to:
Does football size matter?
The short answer to this is, yes. Although you can technically play football with any size of ball, no matter what age you are, it’s recommended that you use a mix of common sense and sticking to the guidelines for your age group.
If a ball is too large for a certain player, it would make it difficult for them to perform to the best of their ability. Not only that, the ball could also become a trip hazard and potentially cause injuries to young bones and muscles which are not yet fully developed.
What size football do I need?
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You must now be thinking ‘what size football do I need’? Well, the FA recommends the following guidelines which all affiliated leagues across the UK adhere to, in order to help players develop and reach their maximum potential.
There are a total of five football sizes for you to choose from, with each one suited better to certain age groups and purposes. These are the aptly-named sizes of 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5.
Size 1 footballs
Size 1 footballs are a mini skills ball perfect for toddlers and in technical training sessions for all age groups.
Size 2 footballs
Size 2 footballs are recommended for young players up until the age of 5.
Size 3 footballs
Size 3 footballs are ideally used by players up to the U9 age groups.
Size 4 footballs
Size 4 footballs are perfect for U10s up to U14s age groups.
Size 5 footballs
Size 5 footballs are ideal for U15s up to U18s and are used throughout all adult formats of the game.
What types of footballs are there?
When you hear the word “football”, we’re guessing the first thing you think of is a standard, size 5 match ball. The match balls which are used in adult matches from Sunday league all the way up to the Premier League.
What you may not know is, there are a number of types available on the market to suit a variety of different environments, game formats and players. After all, none of us are living it up in the dizzy heights of the Premier League.
Here are six of the most common types of football and the differences between them…
Unsurprisingly, these are footballs that are used for training sessions, or generally for regular kickabouts down at the local 3G.
Training footballs tend to be much cheaper and slightly stiffer compared to premium match balls. This is to aid value in bulk purchasing and to withstand more regular usage.
Match footballs are designed to be used in official game play. Match day balls will feel slightly softer to the touch and contain better stitching/tech than their training counterparts. The most expensive versions are the same balls that are used by Premier League and Champions League stars.
These premium balls will feel softer on impact, meaning they are not as durable as training footballs. This is due to the fact that they’re not expected to be used as frequently.
Indoor / futsal footballs
As you’ve probably figured out, indoor footballs have been made solely for indoor use. Don't be mistaken, though, these should only be used when playing indoors at a leisure centre or similar football facility. Not around the home!
Indoor balls feature either a high-visibility felt coating or a stiff outer leather coating (for futsal). Both forms of indoor football are often slightly heavier, and have a reduced bounce to avoid any wall-to-wall pinball.
Mini skills footballs
Bring out the Brazilian football flair in you by grabbing a mini football to work on your skills, they’re great for helping you improve your close control. These tiny balls are perfect for toddlers learning to kick too, and even for adults looking to switch it up at training.
The smaller size (size 1) will mean you have to concentrate on your touch more than normal, but when you get back to a size 5, you’ll probably find you’ve transformed into a nutmeg master.
Usually found hanging outside of seaside shops, flyaway footballs are a nostalgic item but one very much still used today. Even if it’s just down at the beach on a sunny weekend.
Also referred to as a ‘penny floater’, they are made of hardened plastic which makes them extremely lightweight. If you’ve ever kicked one, you’ll know that they fly through the air with a distinct lack of respect for physics.
These balls are, as you’ve probably guessed, made from soft foam. One for the kids (or big kids) to use as they wish around the house.
One note from us though, don’t let the dog get hold of it or you’ll be ordering a new one before you can say “No, Rover!”.
How to inflate a football properly
Having a ball with the correct air pressure is more important than you’d think. To put it simply, you’re going to need a football pump to help. Whether you have a hand, double-action, stirrup or electric pump, it doesn’t matter. You’ll just need one to do the job.
Start the inflation process by securing the thicker end of the needle (the pump should come with one) into the pump.
At the other end, moisten the tip and place it into the opening of the ball’s valve. Start pumping the ball, but go slowly so that it doesn’t over-inflate. Stop once the level on the gauge reaches the FA’s recommended air pressure of between 8.5 psi and 15.6 psi.
Where can I find cheap footballs?
If you, your kids or the team you play for are in need of a new football, there are plenty of places online to find the right one for you.
At FOOTY.COM, we help you out by comparing all of those prices from across the web. It’s worth following our footballs category too, as new deals drop in every day.
So, what are you waiting for? Whether you’re purchasing your kid’s first football, replacing the one that ended up in the neighbour’s garden pond, or adding to your ever-growing collection, there’s no better time to look for a brand-new football.