Indoor Vs. Outdoor Soccer Balls! (Key Differences & More…)

difference between indoor and outdoor soccer balls

Indoor and outdoor (regular) soccer might seem like the same sport, indeed, they’ve got a ton of similarities! However, there are many differences that you probably should be aware of. One of them is the ball!

In fact, an indoor soccer ball is technically different from the outdoor one!

In this article, I breakdown all those differences.

Indoor vs outdoor soccer ball – main differences

The field you play on will determine the ball you need!

Playing with the wrong ball will significantly change the game. Which is why having the right ball for the correct field is important.

Typically, an outdoor soccer ball is a size 5, size 4 and lower for kids, and an inside ball is always a size 4. Anyone who has gone from one size to another will immediately tell the difference.

Furthermore, Indoor soccer fields are much smaller and players need more control over the ball for their short game since long passes are not needed. On the opposite end, a larger ball makes more sense for larger outdoor fields.

Speaking of the different sizes of each field, you also have to take into account the surface. Hard surfaces mean bigger bounces and softer surfaces restrict bounce.

How do each ball counteract these differences?

Indoor balls are low bounce, and outdoor balls are not.

The weight of an indoor ball is significant compared to an outdoor one. On harder surfaces, this extra weight helps with control of the ball.

Best indoor soccer ball

The best indoor soccer ball is the Senda Vitoria Match Futsal ball (Check it Here on Amazon)!

There were made by Senda. This brand is the official partner of U.S. Youth Futsal.

Of any brand, match balls are the top of the line models. Which is why the Vitoria is the best ball to choose from Senda.

The patented “DuoTech” construction uses both high tech stitching and glue bonding. It combines increased performance and durability, especially when compared to machine or hand stitched balls.

It has a durable textured cover for extended durability and reinforced bladder allowing it to hold air for longer.

The ball is a size 4, which is standard for futsal.

One awesome fact about this ball is it is a Fair Trade soccer ball. This means the ball producers meet social, economic and environmental criteria. No unlawful acts were committed during the construction of this ball.

By the way, I highly invite you to learn about those important differences between futsal and indoor soccer! You will find out about some interesting info that even amateurs and semi-pros don’t know about …

Best outdoor soccer ball

Finding the best Futsal soccer ball is easy because few companies make balls. Outdoor soccer balls are another story.

So, the best outdoor soccer ball is up for debate.

But if one must be chosen then I would definitely go with the Adidas Capitano soccer ball (Check it Here on Amazon).

Yes, match balls are the top of the line models, but most need a ball for any occasion. Practice and pick up games happen more often than matches and this means the Capitano fits the bill better than any other ball.

The Capitano comes in 18 different color variations and the sizes are 3-5.

With over 4,000 reviews, mostly 5-star, this ball proves to be worthy of the “Best” title.

The butyl bladder inside the ball provides some of the best air retention around this price range.

Will this ball be used during a sanctioned match? Probably not.

Will it stand up against abuse during practice and scrimmage matches? Definitely.

For this reason alone, the Capitano and all of its different color schemes makes this ball the best option for outdoor play.

How does an indoor soccer ball feel outside?

Slow and spongy!

Most people know the feeling of kicking a fully inflated outdoor soccer ball. They know the feeling of making contact with a ball full of air and knowing after contact that ball will go flying.

Indoor soccer balls do not give that same feeling.

Instead, they give a feeling of resistance. They are heavier, therefore traveling slower. And if they go airborne it is not for long.

Those receiving a ball and making first contact know that a certain amount of technique is involved in order to control the ball. With an indoor ball, this control is more accurate since the ball has less of a tendency to fly away once making first contact.

Playing with an indoor ball on grass will prove to be a challenge. Unlike its counterpart, moving this ball downfield requires more effort.

It’s not ideal to play with an indoor ball outside, but it is possible.

The game will be significantly slower.

How does an outdoor soccer ball feel inside?

On the opposite end of the spectrum, an outdoor ball inside will be near uncontrollable. The main difference is the bounce an outdoor ball provides.

Outdoor fields are softer, and this means there is less bounce when an outdoor ball makes contact on the ground.

When an outdoor ball meets a hard surface it bounces higher, and sometimes in an unpredictable manner. It can still be used, but short movements limited to the ground is important to keeping the ball under control.

Dribbling with an outdoor ball on hard surfaces takes slow and deliberate movements. The difficulty is ramped up once speed is introduced. The bounce between the ball and the hard surface makes it difficult to keep the ball under control.

Light touches are the only way to use an outdoor ball inside. This is not ideal since it’s tempting to want to put some behind each contact with the ball.

Which one of them is beginner friendly?

It depends on the surface!

Each ball deserves to be used on the correct field. But, if one must be chosen then the indoor soccer ball is the better option for beginners.

The low bounce, plus added weight, make these soccer balls easier to control. Better control boosts performance.

Players can practice dribbling, passing, and sometimes shooting with indoor soccer balls. They are smaller which is a bonus when practicing control of the ball.

Unfortunately, when it comes time to transition to outdoor soccer the drills learned during indoor sessions have little carry over.

Use an indoor soccer ball to boost confidence, and if you choose to play outdoors then transition to an outdoor ball.

Which one of them is friendly for kids?

Again, the indoor soccer ball is the better option!

Kids have enough trouble with hand foot coordination. An outdoor ball will be more challenging and difficult to keep under control since it is lighter and will travel further away when kicked.

An inside ball is easier to manage because of its low-bounce properties and added weight.

It may even be a better option to use indoor balls for outdoor play for kids because of their low-bounce property. Kids will have a better chance of keeping contact during a match.

Also, the heavier ball means less likely it will go flying towards another kid’s face!

Which one of them is juggling friendly?

It all depends on the style of the juggler. Some specific balls are made for juggling, such as the Senda Freestyle ball.

The outer shell makes a difference and some jugglers, or freestylers, like different characteristics.

A heavier ball, such as an indoor ball, might be the best option for beginner jugglers. It is less likely for a heavier ball to bounce further away. The only issue is less bounce.

When juggling, you need that bounce to get the ball up in the air. Getting the ball in the air is not only ideal for basic juggling, but for performing different tricks. A ball that does not go high enough reduces the number of tricks a freestyler can perform.

Then again, it is up the freestyle on their preference.

A beginner will have better luck with an indoor ball before moving onto an outdoor ball or freestyle ball specifically.

Which one of them is shooting friendly?

Without a doubt, the outdoor ball is the best for shooting. It is lighter, which means more force can be applied to the ball.

This force equals the ball traveling further, and faster towards the goal.

Shooters need all the help they can get in order to get the ball into the back of the net. Trying to get an indoor ball into a goal is possible, although much more difficult.

Again, it all depends on what surface you plan on playing on.

An outdoor soccer ball is best for shooters. More force applied to these balls means the faster it will travel. But, a shooter that practices with outdoor soccer balls, will feel the difference when they transition to outdoor balls.

Any, and all shooters should practice with indoor balls. The outdoor soccer player will have more force behind their kicks once they switch over to the lighter outdoor balls.

Accuracy may not be the same, but at least they will build muscle during kicking the heavier ball which will translate well into outdoor soccer balls.

Final Thoughts …

I’ve decided to put together this article, once I’ve noticed that many people confuse both balls and think that they are the same … Better, yet many people think that they can use any ball regardless of the type of field they are dealing with,, which is obviously not true!

Really hope this short article has made it clear when it comes to the main differences.

Finally, I highly encourage you to check this comparision between indoor soccer shoes and tuf shoes! You will mainly understand when and where you can use each type to get the most out of it.

Claressa Cormier

Claressa Cormier has over 15 years of soccer experience between playing the sport at a semi-professional level, following the biggest soccer teams & leagues out there as well as helping beginners to get started on the right foot.

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