The Best Nike Soccer Balls for 2021 [Complete Buying Guide]

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A few days ago, I found myself conducting an online search for Nike soccer balls.

And I was quite surprised to notice the distinct absence of quality product roundup articles displayed in the Google search results.

So, I decided to take action by publishing one of my own!

Therefore, this post aims to make the Nike soccer ball buying process as straightforward as possible for prospective customers, which is why I’ll start by outlining my list of top recommendations…

Image

Product

Features

 Rating


Our #1 Rated

Nike Unisex Strike Team Soccer Ball

  • Aerow Trac technology

  • Visual power graphics

84%

Best Premium

Nike Merlin Soccer Ball

  • 3-D printed txture

  • Latex air chamber

76%

Best Budget 

Nike Mercurial Fade Soccer Ball

  • 26-panel design

  • Butyl bladder

74%

Nike Premier League Strike Soccer Ball

  • AerowSculpt technology

  • 12-panel construct

73%

 

The Nike Unisex Strike Team Soccer Ball is my pick of the bunch because of the fact that it is well reviewed; priced within the reach of most consumer budgets and its high visibility graphics – through shiny colour and structural patterns – make playing in the dark and wintery conditions much easier.

It also does the job that it’s meant for very well as the company’s focus on improving aerodynamics paid off handsomely.

Now for those of you who like to thoroughly evaluate a product before making a purchase, the following section is right up your street.

I’ll be digging into each of the options I outlined a couple of paragraphs earlier.

Let’s begin!

 

1. Nike Unisex Strike Team Soccer Ball

Nike Unisex Strike Team Soccer Ball
  • Design 12 panels
  • Butyl valve for better air retention
  • External structure in relief

This soccer ball immediately catches a person’s attention, featuring a standout yellow, purple and flash crimson colour combination.

I’d say just by looking at the shine of the Nike Strike Soccer Ball’s colours, it would be an ideal soccer ball for casual training games, particularly those played in wintery or poor visibility conditions.

But as a buyer I’m sure you’re interested to know whether the plus points of this ball consist of things other than the way it looks.

Which is why I’ll start by going over what it offers to causal and professional soccer players alike.

 

Aerow Trac grooves

Now, Nike is well known for coming up with fancy terms and methodologies to describe the way their products function.

And there’s no difference when it comes to this soccer ball too!

The proprietary Aerow Trac technology within the grooves gives this ball a much more precise and predictable flight pattern, ultimately providing it with great overall stability.

According to the company’s own documentation on another ball that incorporates this sort of engineering, it steadies the flow of air that crosses the path of the ball regardless of the sort of speed that the object is moving at.

 

Visual power graphics

Now I had already alluded to the distinct colour presentation but there’s more than they eye can see here.

The visual acuity that the purple and flash crimson colours manage to give off helps players to track the ball’s movement more effectively.

In layman’s terms, the ball delivers a flickering effect as it travels in the air and along the ground, which is kind of like how a person will always know when a police car is nearby as the colour of the sirens alert you to the presence.

 

Butyl bladder

Another decent development decision that Nike made here was to use a butyl bladder instead of a latex one.

This adds a level of air retention to the ball when it’s inflated, as well as offering a bit more protection against any sort of deformities that could crop during the course of its use.

 

Other specifications

What I find particularly amazing is how panel design has matured over the last couple of decades.

Unlike a traditional black and white soccer ball that comes with 32 panels, this one has a different 12 panel construction.

Here’s the rest of the product specs:

  • Material – 60% rubber, 15% polyurethane, 13% polyester, 12% ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA)
  • Dimensions – ‎26.5 cm x 23.5 cm x 13 cm
  • Weight – 30 grams

 

Benefits
  • Nicely textured which gives a solid grip for players and goalkeepers
  • Good bounce uniformity when fully inflated
  • Reasonable price
Drawbacks
  • Tiny concern about its overall durability

 

2. Nike Merlin Soccer Ball

Nike Merlin Soccer Ball
  • NIKE FOOTBALL MERLIN II
  • Soccer ball race and workout Nike Merlin II
  • The 4 panels structure expands the abutment surface for a larger sweet spot.

Another ball that caught my attention was the Nike Merlin soccer ball.

For starters the name sounds really catchy, to myself at least!

It’s also another multicolour ball although it features the more conventional white that most people who play the sport are accustomed to.

The company has done a lot of good with the Nike Merlin Soccer Ball and I’ll explain why.

 

3-D ink

The three-dimensional printed texture that this ball comes with is said to aid soccer athletes with their touches and overall ball control in both wet and dry playing conditions.

For me that would make the ball a prime candidate for official match and tournament use.

Nike speak quite a lot about how their three-dimensional textiles work, along with the sort of performance benefits that they offer over standard two-dimensional fabrics.

It’s safe to say that this ball offers great aerodynamics and can be a good option for those of you looking to perfect certain areas of your game like free kicks or corners.

 

4-panel construction

Just like the aforementioned Nike Strike ball [LINK], the Merlin doesn’t have a standard pentagonal panel design as it comes with only 4 panels,

The logic behind this concept is actually pretty simple to understand.

With fewer panels present, a player’s striking surface is said to be much larger and, subsequently, this make it easier for them to make a sweeter connection when striking the ball.

 

Other specifications

To round out this basic review I’ll list a few of the technical aspects of this product:

  • Latex bladder
  • Glued seams
  • Material – 37% synthetic leather, 33% rubber, 20% polyester, 10% cotton

 

Benefits
  • Aerow Trac grooves enhance ball topspin and sidespin
  • Suitable for multiple playing environments such as training, leisure and official competition
Drawbacks
  • High price point

 

3. Nike Premier League Strike Ball

We move onto Nike soccer ball number three!

First of all, I’d like to point out that the Premier League Strike Ball looks like it was designed for target practice.

This is because one side of the ball has a bulls-eye like depiction printed onto it, which is really helpful for players who aren’t quite sure where to hit the ball for an optimal shot attempt.

It also comes in a combination of white, dark blue and laser crimson colours which serve to accentuate the Premier League branding.

But there’s one thing in particular that makes this 12-panel Nike ball truly one of the best…

 

AerowSculpt technology

The use of a patented deboss design called AerowSculpt is said to bring about truer flight, as Nike underwent 8 years of detailed research into flight patterns to understand the factors that contribute towards irregular and unpredictable ball movement and eliminate those problem areas with proprietary tech.

How it works is that airflow is promoted around the ball as opposed to air gripping against the outer surface of it, which results in much smoother motion when the ball is airborne.

 

Other specifications

  • Rubber bladder for air retention and spherical shape maintenance
  • Material – 60% rubber, 15% polyurethane, 13% polyester, 12% ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA)

 

Benefits
  • Reasonable price
  • Good weight and texture
  • Makes shooting from long range exciting due to the way it swerves and curls
Drawbacks
  • Slightly poor air retention which means occasional re-inflation may be needed

 

4. Nike Mercurial Fade Soccer Ball

Nike Mercurial Fade Soccer Ball
  • 26-panel design provides true and accurate ball flight
  • Machine-stitched TPU casing enhances durability
  • Butyl bladder for strong rebound qualities and superior air retention

Last but not least, we have the Nike Mercurial Fade.

I must say, the bright neon colour is quite pleasing to see.

Nike designed this ball quite a while back in 2017, and it was made for training sessions or general recreation during the autumn and winter seasons in Spain.

It features a 26-panel design; a rubber bladder and mostly comprises of rubber material.

 

Benefits
  • Affordable for those on a tight budget
  • Neat colour with a soft outer casing
Drawbacks
  • Less suited to hard ground surfaces

 

Qualities to look for in a Nike soccer ball

Now before you settle on a ball, I want to make sure that you’re fully equipped with all the purchase information that you need.

Here’s what I’m talking about…

 

Product delivery

best nike soccer balls - well packaged and delivered

In this area of the soccer merchandise market, packaging plays a big role.

You’ll find that most soccer balls are shipped in a deflated state, so as a buyer you have nothing to worry about if you discover that your ball arrives flat.

However, I’ve stumbled across cases where buyers received a ball that didn’t come with any packaging at all, or situations where the packaging was abrasive which resulted in damage to the ball by way of tearing or loosening of the seams.

So, you ideally want to look out for reviews that mention balls that have been neatly placed and sealed within clear plastic bags or other sorts of environmentally-friendly packaging.

 

Build quality

Obviously, the durability of the ball has to be of the highest standard.

After all, why would you buy a soccer ball that doesn’t offer a decent level of longevity?

Take your time to inspect the sort of materials that are used in the ball’s construction, as some manufacturers like to cheap out here in order to maximise their profit margins which comes at the customer’s expense.

 

Qualitative buyer feedback

best nike soccer balls - great buyer feedback

Finally, don’t just look at the number of five-star reviews on a Nike soccer ball and make a value judgement off of that!

You’ll likely end up regretting that decision.

It’s about quality rather than quantity.

Which means that you’d be better off picking out a ball that’s received a lot less feedback without any major complaints or concerns, over a ball with thousands of four to five-star ratings that include numerous mentions of dissatisfaction and requests for refunds.

 

Are Nike soccer balls good?

Now here comes the shocking part that you probably wouldn’t expect to hear.

I’d say that the vast majority of Nike soccer balls available to buy from retailers such as Amazon are of poor build quality.

There are a couple of gems, but most of the balls I found were either poorly stitched, inadequately packaged or had terrible air retention and shape maintenance when inflated.

Ultimately, I had to wade through a tonne of rubbish and unpleasant buying experiences to find some Nike soccer balls that were good enough to add to this product roundup.

The last thing I’d want is for a person to land on my website and end up making a purchase for a ball that ends up losing air in a few days.

So, as a final verdict I’d strongly recommend going for the Nike Unisex Strike Ball or the more expensive Nike Merlin Ball that can be used in various playing situations.

Before you leave, you might also want to check out my roundup on the best soccer balls, as it doesn’t particularly focus on a specific brand or size of ball.

Or alternatively, take a look at the top adidas soccer balls available for purchase today.

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About Samuel Waihenya

Samuel Waihenya is 25 years of age and has been watching, discussing, as well as playing soccer for well over 10 years. With a solid educational background in business management, the Soccer Whizz website is his first foray into the digital web space and it has been created with the intention of providing the absolute best soccer content for its readership.