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Umbro has been around for a very long time.
The company was established in the early 1920s and since then, they’ve gone on to become one of the most recognised sports brands within the United Kingdom.
In addition to that, the firm has a solid global presence as they’re able to distribute their merchandise across 90 countries worldwide.
Now, Umbro do appear to fly under the radar when it comes to soccer ball production.
You rarely come across their goods in a “best soccer balls” list, but that doesn’t mean they’re not up to standard.
In fact, Umbro’s soccer balls are quite impressive, which is why I’m taking this opportunity to provide you with a roundup of recommended options.
So, take a look at the comparison table below:
The Umbro Neo Swerve Soccer Ball is my top pick here, especially because the company chose butyl over latex for the internal bladder. The former material offers much better air retention so players don’t have to re-inflate the ball with annoying regularity.
1. Umbro Neo Pro Soccer Ball
- PREMIUM GAME BALL: FIFA Approved for match ready play
- DURABLE: Hand stitched sealed seams ensure zero water absorption to maintain perfect balance and shape
- PREMIUM OUTER COVER: Five layer lining ensures a lively consistent bounce, guarantees shape retention and improves ball flight
The Umbro Neo Pro Soccer Ball is the first point of reference when talking about the best Umbro soccer balls.
It comes in a sleek white, black and red colour combination that gives off a premium feel, as the shades all blend together quite nicely.
Umbro’s “double-diamond” logo also appears quite prominently on the centre panel, which is great because prospective buyers get to know exactly which brand they’re looking at when presented with this soccer ball.
And there’s more to like!
Here are a few attributes of this ball that make it stand out:
FIFA Quality Pro approved
Soccer balls are put through a series of performance tests by the game’s governing body – FIFA – who try to determine which ones are fit for use at the highest levels of the sport.
Well, this soccer ball gets top marks as its been awarded with the FIFA Quality Pro badge.
A quick translation of what this means is in order.
You see, for a soccer ball to be handed a FIFA Quality Pro label it has to score highly when it comes to things like:
- Rebound ability;
- Water absorption; and
- Shape and size retention
So, it’s quite reasonable to expect this ball to behave in the way players want it to, which is great because it keeps matches fair.
5-layer outer cover
To back up the previous point, this soccer ball comes fitted with a 5-layer lining.
What this essentially does is guarantee that the ball bounces in a manner that is really lively.
If you kick it in the air, you’ll notice how it sort of “pops off of the surface”, right after making contact with the ground.
Another benefit of such a multi-layered lining is that the soccer ball is able to maintain its spherical shape throughout periods of intense play.
It’s so critical that soccer balls preserve optimal roundness, because this has a knock-on effect on the uniformity of its bounce, as well as how it moves when in flight.
Finally, this soccer ball has been put together by hand.
I wrote an article that evaluated the overall effectiveness of hand stitching versus machine-stitching, and from it I came to the conclusion that the former wins almost every time.
Hand-stitched soccer balls have their seams buried deeper within the outer structure, which leaves the stitches less exposed to external impacts that can cause tears and other sorts of damage.
Just take a quick glance at this ball for a moment.
Notice how you can’t even see the threading on each panel border?
That’s because the stitches are embedded at a deeper level.
You don’t have to worry about playing soccer in the rain with this one either, as the hand-stitching ensures zero water uptake that would make the ball heavier and distort the uniformity of its bounce and movement.
Ultimately, players should get much more use out of this soccer ball because the hand-stitching gives it a boost when it comes to overall longevity.
- Internal bladder – latex
- Ball Size – 5
- Weight – 422 grams
2. Umbro Neo Swerve Soccer Ball
- QUALITY SOCCER BALL AT AN AFFORDABLE PRICE: Great premium camp and recreational soccer ball for grass
- DURABLE PU COMPOSITE COVER: PU composite with improved softness, bounce, and durability
- MAXIMUM AIR RETENTION: Butyl bladder for better air retention
The Umbro Neo Swerve Soccer Ball differs quite greatly in its construction when compared against the previously reviewed Neo Pro.
Just by taking a look at it, you can see the panel arrangement is dissimilar as the centre panel is shaped like a triangle.
But the colours do crossover a little, as the white and black hues are quite memorable.
With pink used as one of the shades, you get the sense that Umbro have tried to appeal to the female playing contingent here.
Anyway, here are the main features you can take away from this one:
Polyurethane composite cover
The outer covering is made up of polyurethane, a material that is said to provide a greater feel and response for players that use soccer balls of such composition.
You won’t feel like you’re kicking a rock with this ball, because the polyurethane covering makes the ball much softer to touch.
That makes this ball a particularly great option for the younger players who have feet that are still firmly within the development cycle.
Play becomes easier for them as they’re unlikely to experience blisters or general soreness brought about by kicking this soft soccer ball.
Butyl-backed air retention
I’ve written an article explaining the function of soccer ball bladders before, so I won’t delve too much into what they’re all about.
However, what I will say is that butyl bladders are much better for air retention than their latex counterparts.
You won’t have to pump up this soccer ball frequently, as bladders made of butyl can hold air for much longer periods of time.
This actually allows you to focus on enjoying your purchase instead of having to get it inflated every now and again.
- Construction detail – machine stitched
- Ball size – 5
- Weight – 422 grams
3. Umbro Youth Sala Pro Soccer Ball
- HIGH QUALITY: FIFA approved match ready futsal ball
- CONSTRUCTION DETAIL: 10 panel machine stitched construction
- CONSTRUCTION: Dual Pressure System technology for enchanced flight and shape
Finally, we have the Umbro Youth Sala Pro Soccer Ball.
Because there aren’t too many options for Umbro soccer balls available on Amazon, I’ve had to include a ball that’s used for futsal.
On a related note, I’d highly suggest checking out my article on the finest futsal balls if indoor soccer is your thing.
Alright, let’s get back to business here.
First off, you’ve got two distinct colourways to choose from:
Now, there are two areas where this soccer ball really stands out, and I’m going to take the opportunity to address this.
Dual pressure system technology
This Umbro ball is made using a dual pressure system (DPS) construction technique that brings about massive performance benefits.
Ligue 1 – France’s highest professional league level – provided a great explanation of what it means in their press release for the unveiling of the 2019 Coupe de la Ligue ball:
“The ball is made using DPS Construction (Dual Pressure System), a manufacturing technique comprising foam layers of different densities under the surface. This hybrid method, which incorporates glue as well as stitching, creates a more uniform and aerodynamic ball.”Source – official Ligue 1 Uber Eats website
The main takeaways are that you get a soccer ball that offers great aerodynamism when in flight, and a ball that retains its roundness very well throughout play.
ECO-PET outer casing
Umbro deserves a lot of plaudits for its eco-responsible manufacturing of this soccer ball.
This is because the company chose to use recycled plastic bottles to build the outer coat, which shows they wanted to minimize the environmental impact of this particular soccer ball’s production.
I’ve previously spoken about whether soccer balls are bad for the environment, and to see a brand actually going ahead and trying their best to keep the damage to a minimum is very commendable.
- Construction detail – machine stitched
- Ball Size – 4
- Weight – 408 grams
Factors to consider when buying an Umbro soccer ball
There are two areas that I need to highlight about Umbro soccer balls before I wrap things up.
Hand-stitched Umbro soccer balls will beat machine-stitched ones for performance almost every time.
Because the seams of hand-stitched balls are well hidden, the stitches don’t get exposed.
What this means is that soccer balls of such construction detail are less prone to deflating and they’re also likely to last a lot longer.
The Umbro soccer balls that I’ve reviewed in this article are all shipped in a deflated state.
So, you’ll need a good soccer ball pump at hand to inflate your purchase up to the correct pressure level before you can even begin to use it.
Are Umbro soccer balls good?
When you compare the offering that Umbro presents with what other brands bring to the table, you can’t really make a compelling case to pick Umbro.
For example, the greatest SELECT soccer balls and the finest Adidas soccer balls are typically better than what Umbro is able to produce.
The alternatives are more widely reviewed and come with features that are a lot more innovative.
But if you didn’t have the luxury of choice and simply had to pick an Umbro soccer ball, then I would recommend the Umbro Neo Swerve due to its budget friendly price point and the fact that it contains a butyl bladder which maximises air retention.
Finally, if you’re into the latest technology within sport, then check out our post on the best smart soccer balls, as there should be something in there to tickle your fancy!
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