Outdoor basketballs are designed to withstand rough surfaces and outdoor play conditions. You don’t have to worry about the ball cover being completely destroyed by the concrete or acrylic courts you play on.

Most people agree that in terms of feeling, there is nothing better than a good indoor basketball game. Still, all basketball players play outside at some point, whether it’s in their backyard or on the local court. And in these areas, the ball must sacrifice its flexibility for durability.

Since they can handle these hard outdoor surfaces, they can of course play indoors as well. This is the perfect round basketball to own – every player should own at least one.

Composite leather or rubber protective cover ?

In outdoor basketball, the emphasis is on the building materials used for covering.

Playing real leather basketball outside would be a crime, so only two options remain: leather and rubber composites.

Composite leather versus rubber

Composite leather basketball uses synthetic leather and the basketball feels just like a real leather basketball.

Message: Natural leather balls are getting more and more expensive. They are hardly used outside of NBA games and EuroBasket. The NCAA has been using composite leather for years.

Rubber basketballs are less expensive than composite basketballs, but much less comfortable to handle. They feel rubbery and have a coarser stone on the surface, making them harder to press. They often call basketballs a street.

Can a composite leather basketball be used outdoors?

Absolutely. In fact, all the best outdoor balls are made of composite leather. Unless you have an incredibly tight budget, avoid rubber bands – you’ll thank me later.

However, there are also composite leather basketballs for indoor use and basketballs for indoor and outdoor use.

Unless it is specifically stated that basketball can be played outdoors (sometimes called all surfaces, multiple courts, etc.), outdoor play should be avoided. Basketball that is only used indoors is softer and damages easily on the outdoor court. There is almost always a trade-off between softness and durability – you can’t avoid it.

What we value.

For the average buyer, choosing the right outdoor sneaker is a difficult and tedious task. There are so many options, and few have the luxury of trying them all. There are many reviews online, but it’s not fun to go through them all.

To make your life easier, we’ve taken the trouble to list our favorites to help you choose the best one. We have personally tested and evaluated each of these devices based on these main criteria:

Flexibility and grip

In general : The softer the ball, the more comfortable and exciting it will be in your hands (you could say a basketball can be too soft).

Outdoor basketballs seem harder than indoor basketballs, but thanks to new manufacturing methods and composite materials, the best balls are both soft and durable.

Sequence of failures

The last thing you want is for the ball to bounce in an unexpected way. Some balls have an irregular bounce, which is noticeable by experienced basketball players.


Some basketball manufacturers claim that the ball can be used outdoors, when in fact it doesn’t hold up very well. Sure, they’ll be great for the first few games, but are you willing to replace them every month? With a good outdoor basketball game, you should expect it to last more than a year.

Our 7 best outdoor basketball sets

Without further ado, let’s dive into the list of the 7 best outdoor basketballs (in order). First of all…

1. Wilson NCAA Basketball Replica Games

Our favorite indoor/outdoor composite basketball that offers the perfect balance of play and price.

Wilson seems to have struck a difficult balance between feel and durability with the NCAA Replica Game Ball.

This is no surprise, as Wilson makes some of the best composite leather basketballs on the market.

Spalding is known for its official NBA basketballs made of real leather, Wilson is the king of composites. It supplies basketballs to schools and colleges and produces the official NCAA tournament ball (also made of composite leather).

If you played basketball in high school, you may be familiar with the legendary Wilson Evolution indoor basketball. The Wilson NCAA basketball game replica is almost as soft and sticky. The difference, of course, is that the lid of this sneaker doesn’t break on the pavement!

While it’s hard to argue that this ball is better than the Spalding Zi/O and NBA Replica game balls, it’s available on Amazon at a discounted price and is just as good, making it our top pick on this list.

Our appreciation: 4.5/5

Read the full review of Wilson NCAA Replica Match Ball

2. Spaulding NBA Zi/O

The most consistent bounce when going from a hardwood surface to a concrete/asphalt surface.

Zi/O Basketball is an attempt by Spalding to create the perfect hybrid between indoor and outdoor basketball.

The dense pebbles give it a soft, sticky feel. The foam layer slightly dampens the bounce on the harder outer surfaces. As a result, it is not too resilient on the harder outer surfaces.

If consistent reproduction on hardwood (interior) and concrete (exterior) is important to you, Zi/O is an excellent choice.

The basketball is very similar to the Spalding NBA Replica Game Ball (also on this list), but the cover feels slightly different. You can’t go wrong with that either, but the advantage of Zi/O is due to the slightly tacky cover (in my opinion).

Our appreciation: 4/5

Read the full review of the Spalding Zi/O

3. Wilson Microfiber Composite NCAA WAVE

24 additional grooves for better handling and less dirt accumulation when playing outside.

The YouTuber’s famous ball, WAVE, is made of durable butyl rubber that feels slightly softer than the Wilson NCAA Replica Game Ball. A unique feature is the addition of 24 T3 grooves on the boards to improve ball control and palm protection. These grooves also help minimize the accumulation of dirt on the boards when playing outside.

The WAVE is only a few dollars more expensive than Wilson’s NCAA Replica Game Ball, so it’s a tough choice between the two. If you want to train with a very traditional ball design, Replica is the ideal solution, but WAVE is a good alternative if you like the idea of a more exciting ball. Don’t get too comfortable with the WAVE grooves either though, as most balls you pick up won’t have them.

Overall, this is a versatile, quality ball that deserves the praise of the great streetballers.

Our appreciation: 4/5

Read the full review of the Wilson NCAA Wave

4. Spalding NBA Replica Game Ball

Looks like the ball you see on TV, but doesn’t handle as well as the Wilson NCAA Replica or the Spalding Zi/O.

Another replica ball, but this time from Spalding, Replica NBA Game Ball is a fantastic indoor/outdoor ball that features the NBA logo.

Compared to the Wilson NCAA Basketball Replica, this ball has less grip. A better grip is usually a positive, but it really depends on the person.

Unlike the Wilson balls, this ball does not have pebble channels, which means the grip on the channels is not as consistent as with the Wilson NCAA Replica Game Ball and the Wilson NCAA WAVE.

Unfortunately, this basketball suffers from some quality control issues with the seams. The Wilson sneaker has a more consistent panel seam design and is a better overall purchase in our opinion.

Our appreciation: 4/5

Read the full review of NBA Replica Ball Game

5. X-Series Fusion Cart GM7X Indoor/outdoor mounting

The 12-panel design, seen at the Olympics, which takes some getting used to.

Molten is a successful Japanese sporting goods brand, known as the ball supplier for FIBA competitions around the world (including the Olympics). The Molten GM7X is made to the same specifications as their tournament ball, but with a harder surface for outdoor use.

Molten X-Series basketballs feature the iconic 12-panel design, which differs from the traditional 8-panel design. The seams (channels) are considerably shallower than those of other basketball brands, but they are also more numerous.

As for the feel, Molten has a great feel that is hard to describe. Compared to Spalding/Wilson balls, it’s different than the ones many players are used to, but not in a bad way. It doesn’t look like leather, but a super soft, supple rubber.

A particularly interesting feature is the pebble pattern that is aligned across the entire surface of the ball, providing uniformity across the entire surface of the basketball. It may not be necessary, but it’s still a nice little detail.

In terms of durability, there are a few problems with the GM7X. The cover doesn’t seem to hold up as well as the others when played on a rougher surface. Therefore, it is not recommended for players who mainly play outdoors.

We highly recommend that you try the Molten GM7X if you get the chance. Some love the unique design and feel, others not so much.

Our appreciation: 4/5

Read the full review of the Molten GM7X

6. Under Armour 495 Gripskin Size 7 Basketball

Lots of grip, but bounces a bit flat and issues with the air tank.

Under Armour is relatively new to basketball, but has shown its commitment by signing major sponsorship deals with players like Stephen Curry.

Although their history as a ball manufacturer is only a few years old, we found the Under Armour 495 basketball to be a great multi-court basketball.

UA Gripskin technology is designed to provide a better grip by providing a firmer, deeper roller. It also has nylon wraps to keep it in shape and a bladder made of 100% butyl rubber for better air retention.

The ball was a little slippery at first and hard to reach in my palm. After a few days of wear, however, the ball was softer and had more grip, mimicking the feel of elite indoor basketball.

Unfortunately, the ball sags, has a somewhat flat and uneven bounce, and holds less air than balls from other manufacturers.

Our appreciation: 3.5/5

Read the full presentation of the Under Armour 495 program

And finally…

7. Chance Premium Interior/Floor Composite Leather

More of a novelty than an everyday ball, this unique ball from Chance makes a great gift for basketball players.

This one is definitely for those who want to be different. Almost every other balloon has the same orange and black colors, so it’s hard to get excited about the aesthetics of these balls.

These Chance balloons come in different designs that exude style. There really is something for everyone.

Because the ball is slightly more expensive than the average outdoor basketball, you would expect the quality of the ball itself to be top notch. Unfortunately, the balloon does not have good air pressure in this area. His bounce and grip are decent, but not as good as the other balls on this list. Overall, this is a solid ball that is only worth mentioning because of its unique and rather hip design.

Our appreciation: 3.5/5

Read the full version of Chance Composite Basketball in Premium Leather

Other notifiable entries

Spalding NBA Outdoor Phantom Rubber

The Spalding NBA Street Phantom outdoor basketball is the only rubber basketball on this page. Because it is made of rubber, it will last forever.

However, rubber basketballs seem cheap and no serious player wants to use one unless he has no other choice.

This basketball uses Spalding’s Softgrip rubber technology, designed to do the impossible – make a rubber basketball feel soft. As a result, the basketball is much better than your discount rubber basketball.

The seams are also wider than normal, but because it’s a rubber sneaker, you don’t notice that.

This is a good basket if you want to play on an uneven and dirty surface. Or simply use it as a secondary storage tank to extend the life of your main storage tank.

This is the best rubber basketball you can get – don’t expect the same feel or bounce as a composite basketball.

Nike Hyper Elite

Nike is synonymous with basketball. But that’s mostly because of their basketball shirts and shoes, not their basketballs.

Their basketballs are rarely represented in competitive basketball. Part of the reason is that their basketballs are still flawed and often too hard.

However, the Nike 2018 Hyper Elite sneaker is a seriously good sneaker with some good innovations to boot.

It has a unique composite/rubber coating that gives it a very comfortable feel. It’s definitely the softest ball here and has plenty of grip.

Instead of having a rocky surface like a regular basketball, the Hyper Elite has dimples. This makes it a good choice for people with sweaty hands, as moisture escapes easily.

While we loved having the Hyper Elite in our hands, it lacks the characteristics of a great outdoor sneaker. As soon as you pick it up, you realize it won’t hold up well outside. It is a bit surprising that in the market of Nike, it is like indoor and outdoor basketball.

Poor competitor

Baden Contender is a very popular outdoor basketball game and is often recommended by others.

His main selling point is his value. It has a lower MSRP than any other basketball here (with the exception of the NBA’s rubber ghost on Spalding Street).

The firm feel and somewhat flat bounce leave something to be desired in our opinion. It’s great to play outside, but inside it’s weird.

Since Amazon discounts our top 5 picks, Baden Contender doesn’t really offer any savings.

That’s why we only offer it if you can get it for $20 or less.

Additional buying tips


For a decent outdoor faux leather, you will usually spend between $30 and $40.

Rubber basketballs should cost no more than $20.

Ball size

For men and boys 15 years and older, the ball size adjusts to size 7. The circumference is 29.5 inches.

For girls basketball and for boys from 12 to 14 years old, size 6 is the official size. The circumference of a size 6 ball is 28.5 inches.

For youth basketball (under 11) size 5 is standard. The size 5 ball has a circumference of 27.5 inches.

Ball weights

The weight of the basketball must meet NBA/FIBA specifications. All basketballs listed here and most basketballs of other brands meet these standards.

Just watch out for those cheap basketballs they usually don’t obey. After all, you don’t want to play basketball with a basketball that doesn’t weigh as much as a normal ball.

Outer shell texture

The synthetic material used in the basketball cover determines the texture of the ball. It’s a matter of preference and it varies from ball to ball.

Wilson is traditionally known for making basketballs that are easier to grip with the palm of the hand, while Spalding balls are slightly smaller.

Since this is an outdoor basketball, the ball will always be on the harder side.


Outdoor basketballs are designed to withstand rough surfaces and different weather conditions.

But even the best ones wear out sooner or later.

The pebbles on the basketball become flatter and the grip deteriorates.

Although an outdoor basketball is made with durability in mind, it generally does not last as long as an indoor basketball played on a smooth hardwood court.

They need to be replaced from time to time, so don’t worry about which sneaker is the most durable.

The cutting down of the basketball

Unlike basketballs made of natural leather, basketballs made of composite leather and rubber are designed to be used from the start.

However, most people would agree that even composite basketball needs time to feel better. Therefore, you can’t judge the feel of a new sneaker.

An Under Armour 495 sneaker, for example, needs a few hours on the track before it feels better.

Inflatable basketball

Most basketballs are partially inflated, but you should use a ball pump to increase the air pressure to the recommended 7-9 PSI.

Since ball pumps have no gauge, basketball officials usually know when the ball feels right. If you are not sure, you can use the following rule:

Lift the balloon to face height and let it fall freely. If you need to bounce around your waist. If it goes higher, the ball will spill. Below the waist, it should be a little more inflated.


I hope you enjoyed reading this list of the best outdoor basketball tournaments. The touch of the ball is a very personal preference. So if you get the chance, I highly recommend going to your local sporting goods store and spending some time picking up balls and bouncing them yourself.

If you have any feedback or would like to make your own recommendations, please leave a comment below or contact us on one of our social media channels.

frequently asked questions

What is the best outdoor basketball?

the best outdoor basketball

What are the best basketballs to buy?

best basketballs-4176913

How long will outdoor basketball last?

The life of an outdoor basketball depends on the quality (material) of the ball, the time you spend with it and the way you care for it. For example, if you play with a rubber basketball outside for 1 to 3 hours every day, it will take about 3 to 6 months for the adhesive strength to stop.

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