What Is A Soccer Ball Made Of? Material & History

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Have you ever wondered what is a soccer ball made of? Asking such a basic question can make you feel nervous, but don’t worry, you’re not alone. Many soccer fans have the same question. In this article, we’ll give you a brief history of the soccer ball and explain the manufacturing process, so you can impress your friends with your newfound knowledge.

What Is A Soccer Ball Made Of? Construction, Material, & History

The history of soccer balls is extensive and noteworthy. In the past, specialized tools for the production of soccer balls were not readily available, making it challenging to produce high-quality balls. This is why various techniques were utilized to craft these balls. Let us delve into the history of soccer balls, starting from 1700 BC and moving forward.

What is a Soccer Ball Made of? What Material Do Companies Use to Manufacture a Football?

what is a soccer ball made of
The material used inside a soccer ball

History of Soccer and Soccer Ball.

The History And Evolution Of The Soccer Ball

The earliest recorded soccer game, as seen in historical records, was played by the Chinese and is known as “tsu-chu,” meaning kickball. The rules of the game were stringent, prohibiting the use of hands, but allowing players to use their feet, head, chest, shoulder, and back.

In the same era, the Japanese also began playing football, known as Kemari, with a ball similar to that used in tsu-chu. The ancient Greeks also played a similar game with a ball similar to that used by the Chinese and Japanese, demonstrating the long-standing popularity of this sport throughout history.

The primary difference between the games played by the Chinese, Japanese, and Greeks was kicking the ball in different ways. However, the Greek game of Espiskyros allowed players to both kick and throw the ball, giving them the option to use their hands.

The British, who had a fondness for these types of games, are also reflected in their historical records. They began playing football using animal bladders as soccer balls, which were inflated and kicked towards a goal post.

How Soccer Ball Evolved

So, that was a brief history of soccer and soccer balls. Over time, improvements made the product more durable, soft, and lighter. Now soccer ball manufacturing is one of the biggest industries around the globe.

Now it’s not just making a spherical shape ball. There is much to talk about. Skilled and specialized people design these balls. After the revolution in the soccer field, manufacturers started giving full attention to it. They prepared skilled people to manufacture top-quality soccer balls.

What is a soccer ball made of? To answer the question, we have divided the manufacturing process of the football into a few simple steps. 

Gathering Material For The Soccer Ball 


The first and foremost process of manufacturing a soccer ball is to gather all the necessary materials for processing. There are primary sources from which we can collect the manufacturing material of the ball. These are the four main ingredients. 

  • Plastic is one of the main ingredients of a soccer ball that is collected from petroleum products. 
  • Rubber is another vital ingredient in the manufacturing of a soccer ball. Manufacturers collect this product from synthetic. But synthetic is not the only source that provides rubber. You can get this from plants.
  • Cotton also plays an essential role in making soccer balls. Plants are the main resource for collecting cotton to manufacture these balls.
  • Leather is another important product that is collected from animals to manufacture a soccer ball.

Soccer Ball Manufacturing Process

The process of manufacturing a soccer ball consists of four phases. These are Covering, Stitching or Glueing, Lining, and Bladder. The details are in the following lines.


The covering is the uppermost surface of a soccer ball. But you can call it Cover, Surface, or Casing. It is the most critical layer. The following are the main features that make Covering more vital than others.

inner view of a soccer ball outer cover
inner view of the ball’s outer cover after stitching panels together
  • Synthetic leather is the main ingredient of this part.
  • It gives appearance and shape to a soccer ball.
  • Protection; Covering protects the inner parts and layers of the ball.
  • The surface is coated with synthetic material to make it a robust, water-resistant layer. If the upper layer is made of leather without any synthetic material it won’t be able to resist water. The synthetic material of the upper layer of the cover produces a great deal of resistance to stop water from entering the ball, which can cause head injuries. 
  • In 1970 manufacturers started using Polyurethane to make it more resistive. And it did serve well. It enabled organizers to hold matches under rainy conditions as well. But, now, there is much more improvement in the waterproofing of the ball. Nowadays, manufacturers use synthetic leather made of PVC so that the bowl even performs well under any condition.
  • There is plenty of synthetic leather available for making a soccer ball. You can use any of them. They are;
  1. Microfiber
  2. Korean Ducksung 
  3. Japanese Teijin Cordley
  4. AI-2000
  5. Leather Art Pakistan Synthetic Leather 
  6. English Porvair.

Use any of them to produce powerful results and better water resistance to keep the light under rainy conditions.


soccer ball's panels distribution
Number of pentagonal and hexagonal panels in a soccer ball

The grueling and stitching of different panels play important in producing perfect soccer balls. There are balls with different panels. Most soccer balls have 32 panels. Twelve pentagonal panels and 20 hexagonal panels give the ball a perfect spherical shape. 

Soccer ball panels design type 1

Soccer ball panels design type 1

Soccer ball panels design type 2

Soccer ball panels design type 2

Soccer ball panels design type 3
Soccer ball panels design type 3

There is another pattern in which the manufacturers use 26 and 18-panel balls. Though this ball could not make its mark in the market, yet it was still used in famous leagues.

There are other balls with different numbers of panels. The 2014 FIFA World Cup used one of the top-class soccer balls, Brazuca. Pakistan produced these balls for the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

thermally bonding the panels of a soccer ball
Bonding panels thermally


The lining is the middle layer between the covering and bladder of a soccer ball. It is a combination of multiple layers of polyester and cotton. The thickness and quality of the material determine the durability and lifetime of a soccer ball. There are two types of soccer balls according to the level of standard.

  • Professional Level Soccer Balls

At this level, the inner Linings’ soccer balls have four layers of cotton and polyester. It increases control over the ball. The ball becomes more responsive and can last for a long time. The cushioning of the ball is extra due to extra layers of polyester and cotton. That is why it is more controllable.

  • Practice or Cheap Soccer Balls;

 The practice soccer balls use two layers of cotton and polyester as linings. That is why these balls are not that durable, or responsive. They are difficult to handle. 


Bladders are the innermost surface of a soccer ball. There are many types of soccer ball bladders available in the market. Each one has its advantages and disadvantages. Let’s discuss the different kinds of bladders available in the market.

preparation of soccer balls bladders
An image of the ball’s bladders sinking them in a special type of chemical to strengthen and make them durable.
  • Butyl Bladders

Butyl Bladders are parts of many football products. The main factors behind its success are retaining air for a longer time and better feelings while kicking it.

The disadvantage of the Butyl Bladder is its unresponsiveness as compared to other bladders.

  • Latex bladders

The most responsive bladders with feeling while kicking the ball. That is why most professionals love to kick Latex Bladder Soccer Balls.

But the negative side of the ball is its air retaining capacity is much lower than the Butyl Bladder Ball.

  • Natural latex rubber bladders

Super responsive. You will never regret kicking it. Softness is exceptional. But due to tiny pores, air escapes rather quickly compared to the above brands. 

  • Carbon-latex bladders

One of the most appealing soccer balls. The making is exceptional. The presence of carbon powder inside does not allow leakage through the tiny pores, making it softer, bouncy, and responsive. 

Putting Panels Together of a Soccer Ball

There are several ways to put together the panels of a Soccer ball. Here are the methods

  • Guled Panels

Putting together the panels of a ball through this method is very easy. All you have to do is to glue the panels.

  • Stitched panels

There are two ways to stitch these panels. You can do it manually by utilizing human resources or sewing it with machines’ help. The quality of hand-stitched soccer balls is more significant than machine-stitched soccer balls.

  • Thermal Stitched Balls

Thermal Stitching Technology is there to produce quality soccer balls. FIFA World Cup 2004 was using this method for stitching balls. Brazuca ball is also the production of Thermal Stitching technology.

Frequently Asked Questions

I hope everything is explained in detail. You can read the post to get information about the manufacturing process of a soccer ball. 

The Soccer balls are filled with simple air. There is nothing else that fills the inner of a soccer ball.

To be honest, yes, these balls are filled with PSI (roughly 11.5–13.5 psi) which means that these balls are pretty hard to kick. 

Yes, most soccer balls, even the ball’s normal air, are a combination of Oxygen and Nitrogen. These are pretty hard and difficult to kick for an average person.


I think you would have come to know What is a Soccer Ball Made Of? But still, we will try to summarise the leading ingredients of a soccer ball. 

The material used in making a quality soccer ball is synthetic leather, Polyurethane (PU), and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) for their covers. The lining is a combo of polyester and cotton. The innermost part is the bladder made of different kinds of bladders like Latex bladders, Natural latex rubber bladders, Carbon-latex bladders, and Butyl Bladders. 

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