The Evolution of the Soccer Ball

The Beginning

Before the 1800's, pig bladders from livestock killed for winter food were inflated and used as soccer balls. These balls were eventually covered with leather for better shape. In 1836, Charles Goodyear invented vulcanized rubber and then went on to create the first rubber soccer ball in 1855.
Evolution of the World Cup Soccer Ball

The 1900s

By the 1900's bladders were made with stronger rubber and could handle heavier pressure. These balls bounced easier and could be kicked hard. Most balls had a leather cover with eighteen sections stitched together. An uninflated bladder was then inserted through a slit.These soccer balls had to be re-inflated all the time.

These balls were good for kicking but were painful when heading due to the weight of the ball. They were heavy because they would absorb alot of water and had so much stitching.

Soccer Balls Now

In 1960, the first synthetic soccer ball was produced. In the late 1980's, synthetic leather totally replaced a full leather ball. This synthetic material was just as good as the leather and didn't absorb water.


Early footballs were sewn with laces and these days, they are made from patches sewn together in a design based on the "Buckminster Ball" or the "Buckyball". The shape is a series of hexagon, pentagons and triangles, which can be fitted together to make a round, smooth surface.

The first official FIFA World Cup soccer ball was the Adidas Telstar used in 1970.


The soccer ball continues to change. There are new materials being developed all of the time to help make it faster, more waterproof, softer and safer. There are bright colors and fun designs, too.