It’s already that time of year — the fields have been cut and painted, summer is wrapping up, and a new school year is upon us which means it is time for an honored tradition: youth football. When it comes to kids’ football, having the best game-ready footballs for all levels of play is crucial to ensuring all ages of kids are having fun. No elementary kid wants to toss around an NFL-sized ball. Whether they are starting at the Pop Warner, pee wee, junior, or youth levels, using high-quality footballs can significantly impact their performance, accuracy, catching ability, and, plain and simple, their ability to hold onto and grip the ball. That’s why we’ve put together this all-inclusive buying guide featuring the best kids’ footballs of 2023. Our expertly curated list includes options tailored specifically for young players, ensuring they have the perfect ball that meets all the required specifications and delivers exceptional performance on the field.

With NFL training camp and the pros having started last week, it’s the perfect time to gear up with the best game-ready footballs. Our buying guide saves you time and effort by presenting the top balls of the year for all levels of play. Whether you’re a young athlete about to don their first pair of shoulder pads or getting ready to dominate your youth flag football league, our guide will help you find the ideal ball that matches your playing style and enhances your skills. Step onto the gridiron with confidence, equipped with the best game-ready balls, and get ready to make every throw, catch, and touchdown count.

Best pee wee (6-9 years old) ball: Nike Pee Wee Tournament Football

Nike Pee Wee Tournament Football on a white background.

While Wilson’s leather footballs dominate the high school and professional ranks, when kids are first getting into football at the pee wee stages, there really is no need to spend an arm and a leg on a genuine leather ball. This is why this one from Nike is a great quality, affordable option. If they do eventually show a knack, love, and enthusiasm for the sport, then you can always upgrade later down the road, but for now, the Nike Pee Wee Tournament Football will suffice. It is specially engineered to deliver tighter spirals and a superior feel in young players’ hands, making it an excellent choice for pee wee football enthusiasts. Crafted with high-grade composite leather, this ball ensures maximum durability, withstanding rough play on the field. The addition of two sewn-in, bordered stripes provides extra grip points, offering better control and handling during throws. Moreover, the textured laces on the football help enhance grip in all weather conditions, allowing young players to maintain optimal performance during their games.

Top Reason to Buy: Engineered shape for tighter spirals and improved hand feel, its high-grade composite leather construction ensures exceptional durability. The two sewn-in, bordered stripes offer additional grip points, granting better control during throws, which is essential for developing players. Additionally, the textured laces enhance grip in various weather conditions, giving young players the confidence to perform at their best, rain or shine.

Best junior (9-12 years old) ball: Wilson GST Junior Football

Wilson GST Junior Football on a light gray background.

If your kid shows promise and truly has a passion for the game, there really is no other ball to consider. The Wilson GST Game Football is a high-quality football designed to enhance your performance on the field. Built with precision and craftsmanship, this football features the GST (Game Saving Technology) design, making it a top choice for serious players and football enthusiasts alike. Its superior construction ensures durability and excellent grip, providing optimal control and accuracy during every throw and catch. The Wilson GST Game Football is engineered to meet the demands of competitive play, making it an ideal choice for football games and training sessions. Whether you’re a seasoned player or just starting, this football’s advanced features will help you elevate your game to new heights. With its exceptional and reliable performance, the Wilson GST Game Football is a must-have for any football player looking to enhance their skills and enjoy a seamless playing experience on the field.

Top Reason to Buy: Designed with Game Saving Technology for enhanced control and precision. Its superior grip ensures excellent handling, making it perfect for competitive play and training sessions. Crafted with quality materials, this football offers exceptional durability to withstand the rigors of intense gameplay.

Best youth (12-14 years old) ball: Wilson GST Youth Football

Wilson GST Youth Football on a light gray background.

All the same tech and features of the Wilson GST junior, but in a slightly larger ball, The Wilson GST Youth Game Football is a premium football designed to deliver exceptional performance on the field. It features Game Saving Technology (GST) that ensures superior control and grip, making it an excellent choice for competitive games and training sessions alike. Crafted with durability in mind, this football is built to withstand the rigors of intense play, providing reliable performance for an extended period. With its advanced features and reliable handling capabilities, the Wilson GST Game Football is a must-have for athletes and football enthusiasts looking to take their game to the next level.

Top Reason to Buy: Exceptional grip and advanced Game Saving Technology make it an ideal choice for football players seeking enhanced control during gameplay. Its durable construction ensures longevity, while the precise handling capabilities enable accurate throws and catches.

Best high school ball: Wilson GST Football

Wilson GST Football on a white background.

While technically not a youth-level football, however, you may view your children as kids even when they do hit high school. If that is the case, then this is the ball you need. If you want the best when it comes to picking a high school ball, you simply can’t beat Wilson, which is why 38 high school football state associations choose this brand. The Wilson GST Game Football is a top-tier football designed to deliver optimal performance and durability on the gridiron. With its advanced construction and premium materials, this football provides excellent grip, accuracy, and feel for both professional athletes and avid football enthusiasts. The Wilson GST Game Football is built to withstand the rigors of intense gameplay, making it the ideal choice for players looking to excel in every aspect of the game.

Top Reason to Buy: Advanced construction and premium materials that ensure excellent grip, accuracy, and feel on the field, this top-tier ball is engineered to withstand intense gameplay, making it the perfect choice for players seeking exceptional performance and durability.

Nike All Field 4.0 Football

Nike All Field 4.0 Football on a white background.

The Nike All Field 4.0 Football comes in any size kids’ football you need: pee wee (6-9 age group), junior (9-12 years old), youth (12-14 age group), or official size (14+ years old). This ball is engineered for optimal performance, featuring a design that ensures tighter spirals and a comfortable fit in your hand. Made with high-grade composite leather, this ball provides exceptional tackiness and an easier catch. The textured laces further enhance your grip in all weather conditions, making it a versatile choice for players looking to improve their game.

Top Reason to Buy:  Its superior grip and precision design provide enhanced control, allowing you to showcase your skills with confidence. The durability of the ball ensures that it can withstand the demands of regular use, making it a long-term investment for players at all levels, all for a fraction of the cost of a leather ball.

Best rubber ball: Baden QB Rubber Football

Baden QB Rubber Football on a white background.

When it comes to kids’ footballs, you need something that can hold up to as rough as they play. Leather options will suffer permanent scars or, worse, gouges that can completely destroy them. You need something more durable and solid the majority of the time. Enter the Baden QB Rubber Football. It is the ultimate choice for football enthusiasts looking for a reliable and high-performing football. Crafted with precision and using top-quality materials, this football offers excellent grip and control, ensuring accurate passes and catches during intense gameplay. Whether you’re practicing with friends or competing in a game, the Baden QB Rubber Football delivers consistent performance on any field. Its rugged construction ensures durability, making it a long-lasting companion for countless hours of football fun. Elevate your football skills and enjoy the game to the fullest with this top-notch football from Baden.

Top Reason to Buy: Reliable grip, control, and durability. Its reliable performance makes it ideal for practice sessions, backyard games, or serious matches. The football’s superior build ensures it can withstand the rigors of regular use, making it a great investment for players of all levels, most notably those in the younger age groups.

Best ball for the “most fun”: Cipton Light-Up LED Rubber Official Football

Cipton Light-Up LED Rubber Official Football on a white background.

When it comes to kids, you don’t need the fanciest or most expensive option to keep them entertained. Sometimes simple is best, especially when the football you are buying can glow in the dark! The Cipton Light-Up LED Rubber Official Football is a must-have for football enthusiasts of all ages. This official-sized football features built-in LED lights that illuminate when thrown or kicked, adding an extra layer of excitement and fun to your games, especially during nighttime play. The durable rubber construction ensures long-lasting performance and provides a comfortable grip for optimal control during passes and catches. Whether you’re playing with friends at the park or having a backyard game, this light-up football will bring a new level of enjoyment to your outdoor activities. Get ready for hours of entertainment with the Cipton Light-Up LED Rubber Official Football.

Top Reason to Buy: Its built-in LED lights bring an exciting element to every throw and catch, making it perfect for nighttime play or low-light conditions. The official size and weight offer a familiar feel, while the durable rubber construction ensures long-lasting performance.

New (school) year, new you, new ball

As the new school year kicks off and all levels of football season begin, having the best game-ready footballs is essential for everyone. From Pop Warner to pee wee, junior, and youth levels, using high-quality balls can significantly impact young players’ performance, catching ability, and grip on the ball. These are the best kids’ footballs of 2023 and beyond!