The Best Nike Soccer Balls for 2023 [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…





Our #1 Rated

Nike Premier League Strike Soccer Ball

Aerow Trac technology

Visual power graphics


Best Premium

Nike Merlin Soccer Ball

3D printed texture

Latex air chamber for better bounce and feel


Best Budget 

Nike Unisex Academy Recreational Soccer Ball

High contrast graphics

Molded grooves for consistent ball spin



The Nike Premier League Strike 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.

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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 Premier League Strike Soccer Ball

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 – ‎31.9 cm x 21.3 cm x 17 cm
  • Package weight – 410 grams


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


2. Nike Merlin Soccer Ball

Nike Merlin Soccer Ball
  • 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


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


3. Nike Strike Football (White/Baltic Blue)

Nike Strike Football White/Baltic Blue
  • Nike Strike Premier League Football Ball White/Baltic Blue
  • Must be inflated

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)


  • Reasonable price
  • Good weight and texture
  • Makes shooting from long range exciting due to the way it swerves and curls
  • 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

Next up, 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.


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


5. Nike Unisex Academy Recreational Soccer Ball

Nike Academy Team Football
  • High-contrast graphics help one easily track the ball
  • Molded grooves designed for consistent spin when the ball is in the air
  • 60 Percent rubber; 15 Percent polyurethane; 13 Percent polyester; 12 Percent EVA

And last but not least, we have the Nike Academy Team ball.

Straight away you’ll notice the high contrast graphics that distinguish it from your regular black and white soccer ball.

It comes with orange, blue or yellow highlights that and a bright Nike swoosh of similar color that help it really stand out on the grass.

Now, let’s talk a little bit about what this ball has to offer players when it comes to performance.


Molded grooves

Beyond that, it features molded grooves which help with aerodynamism when the ball travels in the air.

For players that like to whip in crosses and curve the soccer ball, this product is great as the grooves help to add consistent amounts of sidespin when the ball is airborne.


Other specifications

  • Material type – 60% rubber, 15% polyurethane, 13% polyester, 12% EVA
  • Package weight – 290 grams


  • Affordable price point for the budget conscious
  • Molded grooves in the design add to the fun of taking curved shots
  • May require re-inflation from time to time


Here’s another version of that listing if you’re having trouble finding this soccer ball in stock:

Nike Unisex Academy Ball
  • Lightweight and durable fabric
  • Main compartment with drawstring closure
  • Mesh on the bottom for increased ventilation


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 some adidas soccer balls available for purchase today.

Finally, before you go, you should check out our eBook on Soccer Ball Care.

Within this monster of a resource, we tackle all there is to know about looking after a soccer ball and maximising its useful life right from when you purchase this type of product.

This eBook covers a plethora of different topics, such as:

  • soccer ball construction;
  • inflation and pressure management;
  • cleaning and maintenance;
  • soccer ball storage; and
  • how to extend the useful life of your ball

In just a couple of hours, you’ll have more knowledge on what is good and bad for your soccer ball than you could ever fathom!

You’ll learn how to inflate your soccer ball to the correct level of air pressure based on the size of ball you have, as well as know how to clean and store your soccer ball properly after games.

But I don’t think there’s anything better than being able to effectively troubleshoot problems with your soccer ball and fix them yourself!

So, you can finally take care of your soccer ball for many months to come, which without a doubt will save you time and money as won’t be searching for and buying a replacement any time soon.

With just one click…

Grab yourself a copy right now for only $29!


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Samuel Waihenya
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