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Football size guide - what size football do you need?

Make sure you’re choosing the right size football, as we run through which balls will suit you best this season.

football size guide

The great thing about the beautiful game of football is that all you need to play is, well, a football. On the other hand, if you’ve recently lost yours, that could be a bad thing. But other than needing one to replicate your heroes’ famous goals with your friends, what else do you really know about footballs, especially when it comes to purchasing the correct size? 

With various sizes available on the market, I’m going to run you through what size football will actually suit you best this season.

Does Football Size Matter? 

The short answer to this is, yes. Although you could technically play football with any size ball no matter what age you are, it’s recommended that you use common sense and stick to guidelines. 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 would also become a trip hazard and potentially cause injuries to those bones and muscles which are not yet fully developed. 

What Size Football Do I Need?  

graphic displaying football sizes, measurements and weight

So you must now be thinking ‘what size football do I need’? Well, the FA recommend these following guidelines which affiliated leagues across the country stick to, in order to help players develop and reach their maximum potential. 

There are several football sizes for you to choose from, with each one suited better to certain age groups and purposes - these are sizes 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5.

Size 1 Footballs

Perfect for – Size 1 footballs are a mini skills ball for players of all age groups. 

Circumference (mm): 420
Diameter (mm): 130
Weight (g): 205

Size 2 Footballs

Perfect for – Size 2 footballs are recommended for young beginners up until the age of 5.

Circumference (mm): 470
Diameter (mm): 150
Weight (g): 205

Size 3 Footballs

Perfect for – Size 3 footballs are to be used by players from under-7s up to under-9s age groups. 

Circumference (mm): 580-600
Diameter (mm): 184-190
Weight (g): 300-320

Size 4 Footballs

Perfect for – Size 4 footballs are to be used by players from under-10s up to under-14s age groups.  

Circumference (mm): 635-660
Diameter (mm): 202-210
Weight (g): 350-390

Size 5 Footballs

Perfect for – Size 5 footballs are ideal for players from under-15s upwards.   

Circumference (mm): 685-695
Diameter (mm): 218-221
Weight (g): 420-445

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What Types of Football Are There?

When you hear the word “football”, we’re guessing the first thing you think of is a standard size-5 match ball - which is used in adult matches from Sunday league all the way up to the Premier League.

But, what you may not know, is that there are a number of types available on the market to suit a variety of environments, game formats and players. After all, we’re not all living it up in the Premier League. 

Here are six of the most common types of football and the differences between them….

Training Football

Image from Nike.

Unsurprisingly used in training, or for a kickabout down the park with friends, training footballs tend to be a bit stiffer compared to match balls in order to withstand regular use.  

Match Football

Image from adidas.

Designed to be used in official matches, match day footballs are slightly softer than their training counterparts. It will feel softer on impact meaning and are not as durable, as they’re expected not to be used as frequently. 

Flyaway Football

pack of brightly coloured plastic flyaway footballs
Image from Amazon.

Perfect for those summer family days at the beach or the park, flyaway footballs are such a nostalgic item but one very much still used today. Also known as a ‘penny floater’, they are made using plastic making them extremely lightweight. This means they fly through the air and, if the wind is up, you’ll probably spend all day chasing after it. 

Foam Football

red and black soft foam football
Image from Amazon.

These balls are – as you’ve probably guessed – made from foam. Your child could have hours of fun in the garden with this spongy round object, while also giving a parent the peace of mind that it won’t cause too much damage if kicked around indoors. Just make sure the dog doesn’t get hold of it or you’ll be ordering another one quicker than you can say ‘goal’. 

Mini Football 

Image from adidas.

Bring out the Brazilian football star in you by getting a mini football to work on your skills. Not only are these great time-killers, they will also help improve your close control. The smaller size will mean you have to concentrate on your touch more than normal but, when you get back to a size five, you’ll probably find you’ve transformed into a nutmeg king.  

Indoor Football

Image from adidas.

As you’ve probably figured already, indoor footballs have been made for indoor use. Don't be mistaken, though, these should only be used when playing indoor at a leisure centre or similar football facility and not around the home. Featuring a high-visibility felt coating, these footballs are often slightly heavier and have a reduced rebound performance so that it doesn’t spring from wall to wall. 

How to Inflate a Football Properly 

To put it simply: you need a pump. Whether you have a hand, double-action, stirrup or electric pump it doesn’t matter, but you will need one of these in order to inflate your football properly. 

Start the inflation process by attaching the thicker end of the needle (the pump should come with one) to the pump. At the other end, moisten the tip and place into the opening of the ball’s valve. Start pumping the ball but go slowly so that it doesn’t over-inflate. If your pump has a built-in gauge, just stop once the level on the gauge reaches FIFA’s recommended air pressure of between 8.5 psi and 15.6 psi (for size five) and between 8.7 psi and 11.6 psi for other balls.

How to Tell if a Football is Properly Inflated

If your pump does not have a gauge to tell you if your football’s air pressure is at the recommended level, hold the ball with your fingers on either side. If it feels firm but you can compress it slightly (so it’s not too firm) then it’s ready for kick-off. To double-check, when you kick the ball it should not hurt your foot, roll true and fly through the air. Most of all, go with your instinct. If it feels and sounds slightly flat or over-inflated then it probably is. 

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Where Can I Find Cheap Footballs?

If you or the team you play for are in need of a new football there’s plenty of places online to find the right one for you. But with so many retailers and options available, choosing your latest football could prove a tougher task than you first thought.  

But don’t fear, because here, at FOOTY.COM, we help you out by comparing prices from across the web. Prices are updated regularly, so it’s well worth bookmarking any pages for cheap footballs you’re interested in to make sure you hit the back of the net! 

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 new football to kick around the garden.

Daniel Tyler

A football enthusiast who's scored as many Premier League goals as Lionel Messi.