How to Choose a Football

football player holding football

When it comes to buying a football for yourself or a child, there are a few important things to consider to ensure you make the right choice. Not only do football sizes vary between each age group, you will also want to take the different material types into consideration. Our Experts share what you need to know to choose the right football.

Football Materials

One of the first things you should consider when choosing a football is the material it is made of. There are a few main materials used for footballs: foam, rubber/synthetic leather, and genuine leather. 

Foam footballs are the cheapest and lightest option. These are primarily only used by young players and for recreational purposes because they are soft and won't hurt when catching the ball. Foam footballs are not very durable, however.

  • Pros: Lightweight, safe around children and property
  • Cons: Not very durable, not the true weight or grip of a football

Rubber/synthetic leather footballs are great for practice and games. These are more durable than foam and more affordable than genuine leather. With a synthetic leather football, players can practice with the proper weight and grip of a football without breaking the bank. The synthetic casing also prevents the football from swelling when wet.

  • Pros: More affordable than leather, proper weight and grip, weather-resistant
  • Cons: Not quite as durable as genuine leather

Leather footballs are traditional and the highest quality of all footballs. Less and less modern footballs are made of genuine leather because they are difficult to grip when wet and can swell when bogged down with water. However, dry leather footballs have a natural tackiness and are very easy to grip.

  • Pros: Durable, natural tackiness
  • Cons: Not weather-resistant

Football Sizes

football player holding a football

Another important factor to consider when choosing a football is the size. Footballs come in different sizes depending on the age and skill level of the player. Below is a standard football size chart.

Football SizePlayer Age
Pee Wee6–9 years
Junior9–12 years
Youth12–14 years
Official14+ years

It's important to choose the right size for your child so they can have the best experience while playing. If the football is too small, it will be harder to throw and catch. If it's too big, it will be difficult to grip and can even cause injury.

To choose the right size football for your child, measure the circumference of their hand around the widest part, excluding the thumb. Then, use the manufacturer’s sizing chart to determine the appropriate size football for their hand size.

Choosing the right football for your child can make all the difference in their enjoyment of the game and their skill development. By considering the material and size, you can ensure that your child has a football that is durable, easy to handle, and the right fit for their age and skill level. If you have additional questions about what you need for football or you would like to speak to an Expert for a personalized football recommendation, contact your local SCHEELS.