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.
Whereas plenty of manufacturers that we reviewed opted to go with a soccer ball that was more durable than responsive, Mikasa takes the opposite approach and focuses primarily on the touch that their ball can provide. This is most apparent in the soccer ball’s choice of casing material. The synthetic leather casing of the Mikasa is by far the softest and naturally responsive-without the inclusion of texture-out of any other soccer ball we reviewed.
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.
This is a very special soccer ball which I’ll think you’ll fall in love with. At least that was the case with me. I must say that I don’t normally trust new comers in the industry of soccer equipment. I mostly prefer established companies like Adidas, Select or Brine. However, the guys at Bend-it (the company behind Kunckle-it) really changed my perspective.
The interior of the 1GK USA is a bit more mixed in terms of quality than the exterior is. However, the materials used are explicitly designed to increase the ball’s responsiveness-likely to make up for its uncommon rolling and flight patterns due to the butyl fins. Still, aside from being the only hand-sewn ball, this is also the only ball made with a latex bladder on our list. The potential downside is the cotton lining which will get heavy when wet-though it is much softer and provides better responsiveness than either polyester or nylon.
Whether it was a size 3, 4, or 5, we found that the Adidas Starlancer performed as it should. This allows beginning players at any age to begin getting a feel for what it is like to have the ball at their feet. There are two color options that come with the Starlancer as well and each performs as it should. For normal passing, crossing, and shooting drills, we found this soccer ball to be true to form. The machine stitching is strong and offers a fairly long lasting performance.