A ball is just a ball, right? Well, it’s not quite that simple any more. Some important things to consider are what the ball is constructed of, what material is used for the lining or bladder and, to state the obvious, the size of ball you require, which will depend on the ages of the players and the ball’s intended use, be it for training or match games.
Much like PU or TPU for soccer ball casings, rubber is considered the best of both worlds for soccer ball bladders when it comes to striking a balance between responsiveness and air retention. Oddly enough, this balance does not actually inspire a greater adoption by either manufacturers or players, and as such, soccer balls with rubber bladders are less popular.
Well, panels are not any different component. Panels are the segments or octagon quilt that are seen outside the balls. Of course, nowadays you will find some other shapes besides octagon. FIFA official balls usually contain 32 panels. But nowadays you will also find 26, 18, 14, 8 or even 6 panels with different shapes and designs from those of conventional balls.
Over time, many soccer balls tend to go out-of-round, especially if they are well-used. The Glider is designed to maintain its shape without losing air thanks to the firmness and consistency of the butyl bladder. Under regular use, we found that the air pressure was consistent enough that we didn’t need to add more air to the ball. If you play in organized soccer, then having consistency from the practice ball to the game ball is very important for skill development. The machine-stitched panels offer that experience for most players, even though the ball has the standard panel design.