When it comes to sports that are available and accessible to millions of people across the world, none come closer than football freestyle. It’s one of the reasons why freestyle has grown at such a rapid rate. All you need is a ball. Freestyle is more to do with investing time than money to get the rewards you hope for. However, the more time you do invest in freestyle, the more money you will be willing to spend to see better results and truly live that freestyle life.
Whether it be upgrading your shoes or balls to something that suits your style, or splashing out on flights and hotel for Super Ball. It’s only natural to spend money on what makes you happy. With 10 years of experience in freestyle, I know exactly how you should spend your well earned money when it concerns freestyle equipment. What to avoid, what to definitely buy and what to gamble on. In this blog post I am going to cover absolutely everything. From the essentials such as footballs and shoes to the more expensive gear such as cameras. I’ll also offer cheaper alternatives for the times when you can’t spend a lot of money.
What’s the best football for freestyle?
Let’s start with the most important piece of equipment. The one thing you absolutely need for freestyle – a football. For something so simple in its design, it doesn’t half throw up a variety of options for us to choose from. Brand, panelling, stitching, padding, weight, grip, material, design and even colour are all things we need to consider when selecting the right football. It’s easy to see why beginners are so confused and unsure about their purchases.
One general rule of thumb is that Adidas make the best footballs. Granted, not everyone shares this opinion, but take a look at the last 10 freestyle videos/clips you watched. I’m almost certain that at least half of those freestylers were using an Adidas football. So it’s a pretty safe bet that it will do the job for you. I have used Adidas footballs for the majority of my freestyle career and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.
If you are a complete beginner then I highly recommend starting out with a replica ball, purely because they offer the best value for money. You get the Adidas quality for the cheapest price possible. If you decide that freestyle is no longer for you then you won’t feel like you wasted any money trying it out. Any Adidas replica ball will do the job, Nike also make pretty good replicas. Just pick the design and colour which you like the best. These balls are designed to be cost effective and not offer the highest performance. Use and abuse replicas as you develop your skills!
Here are some current replicas which you can try out: They cost anywhere from £15 – £20.
Adidas Conext Replica, Adidas Torfabrik Top Training, Adidas Beau Jeu Top Glider, Adidas Champions League 2015 Top Training and Nike Premier League Replica.
Official Match Balls
If you freestyle long enough, you’ll notice that most freestylers move on from replicas and end up buying official match balls instead. Why? The reason is durability and performance. This does not mean that replicas are far worse, because they are not. But look at it this way – if you have been freestyling for two years, then why not treat yourself to something of the best quality that you will use every day for years to come. Freestyle for 6 months and you will notice your replica will be scratched up and would have lost its shape slightly. It may not even last you 6 months. The stitching may be loose and there will likely be water damage. Match balls are guaranteed quality, there’s no reason why a match ball can’t last you 5 plus years if you take care of it.
Think of buying a car, would you be willing to spend a bit of extra money on something which is less likely to break down, goes faster and looks more impressive? Of course you would. Remember – match balls are used in professional football. If they are good enough for Ronaldo and Messi, then they are good enough for you.
Adidas Match Balls have a resell value as well if you keep them in good condition. Some even sell for hundreds of pounds on ebay years later, depending on how rare they are.
Which match ball should you buy?
All Adidas match balls are high quality and largely the same. They differ slightly in weight, grip and panels. The three most popular balls right now are the Brazuca, Champions League Finale and my personal favourite, the Cafusa.
Here are the match balls currently on the market: They cost anywhere from £60 – £80.
Adidas Beau Jeu Official Match Ball
The latest release from Adidas is the Beau Jeu, which will be used in Euro 2016 and is likened to the Brazuca as it uses the same panel design.
Adidas Brazuca Official Match Ball
The Brazuca was a big step in the right direction when it was released in 2014. The panels and grip is what makes this ball popular and a solid choice for any freestyler.
Adidas Champions League Finale 2015 Match Ball
The classic star design is always a good look. Finale match balls tend to be great for lowers and this is no different, if you’re looking for something a little lighter than the Brazuca then go for this.
Adidas Tango 12 Match Ball
The Adidas Tango, the ball which the Cafusa was designed after, is currently only £39.99 HERE.
Fantastic value for anyone wanting their first match ball or looking to add to their collection. What I love about this ball is its durability and padding. It’s unlikely to stay at this price for long so pick it up whilst you can.
Torfabrik 2015/16 Bundesliga Official Match Football
Also on offer is the Torfabrik, currently £50 HERE. This football is incredibly similar to the Brazuca, the only major difference being the colour and design.
They are a few select brands which have designed balls specifically, although none have been a breakout success they have been the choice of some freestylers. It’s definitely worth mentioning these as they have become a big part of freestyle culture. All of these balls cost around €30.
Monta Freestyle Dragon
Size 4.5, denim and a striking design. This ball was very popular till recent years, now it seems to be out of production.
Urban Ball has been a popular choice for freestylers with a blocking style. It has immense grip and weight, Sean Garnier’s rise in popularity has increased interest in this ball. You can check out my review of it here – Urban Ball Review.
As Monta fades away, 4Freestyle emerges as the number one brand for freestylers going forward. Founded by Tobias Becs, he is constantly testing and improving upon his products which including clothing and footballs. Definitely be sure to check out their products at 4-freestyle.com.
Whatever football you choose, you’re going to need a football pump. They are all the same, but if you’re wondering this is the pump I use. It’s cheap and does the job, it’s also small enough to keep in my bag at all times. There’s nothing worse than turning up at your training spot to find your pump missing, so never take it out of your bag.
What are the best shoes for football freestyle?
Now that you have selected a ball, you will need some shoes. It’s much harder to steer you in the right direction since your feet will differ in shape and size to mine. But it seems only right to start with what I currently wear and what I also believe to be the best shoe for football freestyle – the Puma Archive Lite. If you’re new to freestyle then this will likely shock you as this is a common looking shoe. Here are some reasons why it’s so popular.
They’re light – huge incentive, it’s remarkably light, the lightest shoe around. This is due to the material and the foam like sole.
It’s wide surface area – the top of the shoe is very simple, nice and wide with straight laces. This gives for a great touch on the ball and control for those blocking and grab tricks.
The sole – the sole is huge and flexible, which is fantastic for freestylers as sole tricks are becoming more and more popular.
They’re CHEAP! – This is definitely a huge incentive, they are some of the cheapest shoes you can buy on the market right now. Usually priced at £30 – £40, sometimes less.
Of course, these shoes are not perfect and not suitable for everyone. One downside would be their durability, they are not known to last as long as more traditional shoes. Also the sizing can be difficult, I would recommend going DOWN one size for a tighter fit.
Puma Glyde Lite
If you can’t get your hands on the Puma Archive Lite then the Puma Glyde Lite is a like for like replacement. The only difference being the polyester material, this provides less padding on the upper bringing you closer to the ball. You can check out my review on the Puma Glyde Lite HERE.
Nike Elastico Shoes
If you don’t like the look of Pumas or don’t think they would suit your style then you can always go with a more traditional shoe. Before I switched to Puma, I always had the opinion that Nike made the best shoes when it came to freestyle, especially their Elastico range. I have had about 5 pairs of them. They are slim, tight fitting, light, colourful and perfect for lowers.
We are now onto the third and final generation of Elastico, since they have now been discontinued. I will explain them briefly though as they are great shoes and you can find them in some places – such as Amazon.
Each generation has 3 versions of the same shoe – Elastico, Elastico Pro and Elastico Finale.
My favourite pair, it’s cheap and cheerful. It definitely feels cheap but it performs as well. Not to mention that they are very comfortable, they feel like slippers. The Elastico II is one of my favourite shoes ever, you can check out my review for it HERE.
Nike Elastico Pro
From my experience, the Elastico Pro suffers a slight dip in performance and comfort but they are extremely durable. My Elastico Pro II lasted me well over a year and I was happy to use them, they are still Elasticos at the end of the day. They are slightly more expensive than the standard Elastico, but the step up in build and material quality is significant.
Nike Elastico Finale
The most expensive shoe in the Elastico range, these can cost up to and over £70. I have never used them personally since I couldn’t justify the huge step up in price, but from speaking to other freestylers the performance is amazing. They are extremely light, especially the material used on the upper.
However, not many people recommend them because they do not last long at all. The sole is extremely thin and wears quickly. I’ve heard of these shoes being unusable after a month of hard training. A MONTH. My advice would be to go with either the Elastico or Elastico Pro and save yourself some money.
The Adidas X15 have been dubbed the ‘new Elasticos’ and it’s a pretty solid comparison. They are very similar in appearance, although I would say that the design is much classier than their Nike counterpart. That said, there is not much else to say about this shoe. They are extremely comfortable and the upper is very soft. The Adidas X15 is an increasingly popular and recommended shoe.
Unfortunately that’s it as wide as the freestyle shoe spectrum is at the moment. Both Nike and Adidas are releasing products which are not suitable for freestyle, shoes with knitted socks and a lot of shoes on the market feel very plastic and rigid.
My simple advice would be to try Puma Archive Lite, if you’re not keen on them then go for the Adidas x15 or Nike Elastico.
What is the best camera?
A huge part of freestyle life is recording your trainings and making videos. Not only can you analyse your freestyle, you can share it on social media and gain invaluable tips and advice from others. In order to do this you need to have a decent camera set-up, I’ll talk through what I currently use and some popular and cheaper alternatives.
Cameras are expensive and a luxury not everyone can afford. If you have a smart phone, then you’ll have HD recording abilities – which is really all you need! There’s no reason why you can’t film, edit and upload your clips directly from your phone.
One vital tip: Always record in landscape mode and not vertically.
Do not just place your phone on the ground. This will just result in bad framing – meaning you won’t be the focus of the shot. What you need is a tripod, that way you can be the centre of attention in your shot.
The best tripod is the GripTight GorillaPod for Smart Phones. As you can see it’s super useful as it can be used as a traditional tripod or be mounted onto any object, thanks to its bendable legs. You can get really creative with how you film your videos. It’s robust, small and cheap. It’s the best way to add a touch of professionalism to the videos you film on your phone.
The Camera Gear I Use
I don’t claim to be an expert on cameras, I’ve learned a lot over the past few years though. I thought it would make sense to talk about the gear that I use – why I chose it, what I use it for and what I like about it.
I have one camera that I have been using for all my videos since late 2013. The Canon 600D.
Why did I buy this camera?
The Canon 600D is a lower to mid-range DSLR model. If you are serious about making videos, then a DSLR is the way to go – we all know that Canon is a highly reputable brand. So easy choice there.
The reason I picked the 600D was because it was the cheapest model that had all the specifications I needed – 1080p quality, 60fps and a flip screen view finder.
The 600D seems to be discontinued now, you can still pick it up but I would recommend getting the Canon 700D instead. The 700D has all the same features except it has auto focus, which is extremely useful and something I wish I had.
If you are serious about your YouTube channel, then a DSLR is the way forward. The 600D / 700D is highly recommended DSLR for beginners. Remember – this is not a simple camera that you can press record and leave. You have to learn how to use this camera to get the best out of it, so play around and watch plenty of YouTube tutorials.
My 600d came with a stock 18-55mm lens, which I used for a long while. You can check out this video here if you want to see what the quality is like. Stock lenses have a stigma attached to them, but ignore that and make your best stuff. There’s nothing wrong with using a stock lens if you’re happy with the content you’re producing.
After some time I wanted to upgrade so I bought two lenses and have been using those instead for all of my videos since August 2014.
My Prime Lens
What is a prime lens? A prime lens is a lens of fixed focal length. In other words, you cannot zoom in or out.
The result, at least for me, is a much sharper image. Which looks amazing. If you set-up your shot correctly you can get a brilliant depth of field (basically a blurry background) which gives you a cinematic look.
I have a Canon EF 50 mm f/1.8 II Lens, it’s the cheapest prime lens you can get – I bought if for £77. It’s nicknamed the ‘nifty fifty’ by photographers and film-makers.
What do I use this lens for?
I mostly use this lens when talking directly to the camera during tutorials and Around The World. I have the camera set up about 5 feet away from myself. I also use it for some close up shots in reviews and occasionally wide shots in training videos.
My Wide Angle Lens
The prime lens is something I only use occasionally, I needed something that was more practical for freestyle clips. I wanted a lens which I could get really close to when filming that would also look amazing in slow motion. I decided on the Sigma 10-20mm f4-5.6 EX DC HSM, it doesn’t come cheap at £300, but I couldn’t imagine my life without it. It’s the lens that I get complimented on the most and it looks incredible when shooting in 60fps.
Check out any of my [TRAIN] videos to see what I am talking about. One of the downsides is that it doesn’t perform too well in low light.
The reason I bought my Sigma 10-20mm lens is because I wanted to use it on a GlideCam for ultra-steady shots. A GlideCam is a camera mount which uses weights at the bottom so you can create a smoother shot. I bought this to film at freestyle meetings to make more interesting videos and you can see the result of that in the video below.
The GlideCam I bought was the first one when you search on Amazon, eimo High Grade Aluminum DSLR Camera Stabilizer with Quick Release plate for DSLR Cameras Video-60cm – it costs £84.
For value for money it is perfect. If you want something more professional, then you could get Glidecam HD-4000, however this costs over £400. I personally don’t see myself upgrading any time soon.
If you’re buying a GlideCam then don’t expect to create incredible videos with it straight away, you have to learn how to use it properly. This can take time and requires practice and skill, but once you get the hang of it they are very fun to shoot with and you’ll love the results.
Here is a fantastic video demonstrating how the GlideCam works and some tips for filming with one.
If you can’t afford or simply don’t want to buy a GlideCam then you can try out the Opteka X-GRIP Professional Action Stabilizing Handle which costs less than £20.
This is a cheaper investment to having a more steady shot than when you shoot handheld.
I have two microphones for my Canon 600d, the internal microphones on DSLR’s are pretty awful, so if you’re talking to the camera a lot then you should definitely invest in a decent microphone.
I use the Rode VideoMic, now I don’t confess to be an expert when audio is concerned. But I know that Rode microphones are used everywhere and this was the best I could afford, you could get the VideoMic Pro, but that’s twice the price and I don’t personally believe it’s worth that much.
I use this microphone when filming outdoors, usually for tutorials with guest freestylers.
If you want a cheaper option, which looks just as good you can get the RODE VideoMic GO. It’s currently much cheaper than what it was when I was buying a microphone, if I was to choose now I would go with that.
One cool thing about Rode is that they offer a 10 year guarantee on their microphones. 10 YEARS! I broke my VideoMic (my own stupid fault) and they repaired it for me with no questions asked. Amazing service.
Last year I bought a second microphone to record commentary for my [TRAIN] series. The Rode podcaster, this microphone is phenomenal! It eliminates all background noise and produces crystal clear audio recordings. I also decided to use this for Around The World and tutorials, any video where I am inside this microphone will be hooked up to my computer and just out of shot.
This microphone is probably not suitable for freestylers, but since I’m going through the gear that I use I thought it was worth mentioning.
My Camera Accessories
These are pretty self-explanatory, these are the extra bits and bobs I have.
Memory Cards – Absolute must have, you can’t record with them. I have two 32gb Integral SDHC cards and one 64gb QUMOX card.
Tripod – I use a Hama Star 61 Tripod. One of the cheapest but most common tripods you can get.
Spare battery – you can never have enough. These last about 90 minutes so two just about do me!
My camera bag – Canon 100EG Custom Gadget Bag just about fits everything in there (except for the GlideCam which comes with its own bag).
GoPro – Which one should you buy?
As you can see, DSLR’s can be quite expensive over time. A GoPro is a much better investment if you just want to record your training clips and travels without lugging around tons of equipment. Small, fantastic image quality, waterproof – it really is a camera that performs with no thrills. Put it down, press record and you’re away.
I do not own a GoPro myself, so I don’t think it’s right of me to breakdown which one you should get. Although I can safely say the two most popular models are the GoPro HERO4 BLACK and the GoPro HERO4 SILVER which cost £320 and £289 respectively. These are their top of the range cameras.
Learn more about the GoPro HERO4 BLACK by watching this video below:
Learn more about the GoPro HERO4 SILVER by watching this video below:
GoPro’s most recent release is significantly cheaper – the GoPro HERO4 Session Action Camera.
It’s not fully fleshed out like the Black and Silver models, but for only £154 you get one hell of a camera which records in 1080p 60 frames per second!
Learn more about the GoPro HERO4 Session Action Camera by watching this video below:
One reason why GoPro’s are so popular is because of the accessories that are available, such as mounts and head straps, so you can film some unique shots.
There are differences in quality and functions for each model, so it’s best to just go with whatever is best for your budget. Check out this graph below to make a more informed choice.
If none of these cameras interest, you then you can always do your own research and check out the Amazon best sellers list for the most recent and popular cameras.
So that’s the football freestyle gear guide. I hope you enjoyed this post and gained some valuable insight on what’s best for you. One last thing that you essentially, must have, cannot live without…. Is my e-book ‘The Story of Football Freestyle’.
Okay, maybe I’m over selling it slightly there. But it’s 100 pages packed with insight and experiences of the world of football freestyle. It’s the thing I’m proudest of creating, so if you enjoyed this post you’ll definitely love the e-book. Also it’s a great way to support this website and what I do! If you do buy it, please reach out to me and let me know what you thought of it!