Choosing The Right Footbag
HOW TO CHOOSE A FOOTBAG
Don’t be discouraged by the local footbag junkies and their arsenal of mind-bending delay tricks, you may just have the wrong footbag. Rest assured, they’re not kicking the taut, leather, pellet-filled footbags of yesteryear.
WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE?
Today’s footbag manufacturers have brought freestyle play to the everyday, recreational kicker by producing a variety of footbags with soft, user-friendly cover materials and stall-friendly fillers. These pliable fabrics are washable, come in a variety of colors and, most importantly, dramatically accelerate the learning process. The vast majority of footbags are made with synthetic (man-made) materials and come in a variety of names, grades, and colors. The thicker and consequently most durable grades of synthetic suede’s are ultra suede and poly-fleece. If the outer cover material of a footbag is listed as “synthetic suede” it is most likely a medium grade material, which is a nice balance of softness and durability. Crushed Panne fabric makes for a super soft outer cover and is growing quite popular with freestylers. Facile, generally considered to be the softest of all cover materials, has an almost “buttery” feel to it and is a common choice of elite-level freestylers. Although most of today’s footbags are made from one of these materials, there are still a few made of pigskin and cowhide, which provide excellent durability and “bounce.” Specialty footbags for net play use a resilient vinyl cover that provides the advantages of cowhide in all weather conditions. Readily available and inexpensive crocheted footbags are made of rayon or cotton and can vary considerably in their size and density.
Another variable in footbag manufacturing is panel design. In recent years, multi-panel footbags have become increasingly common as innovation and craftsmanship advance. In general, multi-paneled designs improve roundness. The more panels used, the rounder the footbag, resulting in a truer and more predictable kick. However, these beautiful designs usually require increased labor to produce, which in turn increases consumer cost. But there’s more to consider than price when choosing a quality footbag. For beginners, the softer the footbag, the more control you’ll have with the least amount of effort. Softer footbags are forgiving, slower and more predictable, allowing you to link a rally of kicks together more easily.
SAND VERSUS PELLET-FILLED?
In the late 1990’s sand-filled footbags emerged as the most popular footbags on the market. Why? Because a sand-filled footbag is easier to “stall” or “delay” on your shoe. Most sand-filled footbags are filled about one third full of sand, are heavier and “deader” than a pellet-filled footbag. A general rule of thumb is that a sand-filled footbag will be easier to stall and do tricks with and a plastic pellet-filled footbag will kick “truer” off your shoe with less effort. Most synthetic suede plastic pellet-filled footbags will soften over time to make for a good all-around footbag for delays and consecutive kicking. Many freestylers will own a sand-filled footbag for skoolin’ their new delay tricks and a nice worn in pellet-filled footbag to use once they’ve honed they’re delay skills. Unfortunately hand-made, sand-filled footbags will have a tendency to lose sand over time. The good news is sand can easily be added in minutes. That information is located in our Footbag Care & Maintenance section.
The newest filler on the scene is steel BB’s or steel pellets. Steel filler allows for a “best of both worlds” scenario, where it not only kicks true and consistent (like a plastic pellet filled footbag),but the extra weight allows for great stalls (like a sand filled footbag).
World Footbag offers over 60 different kinds of footbags. The wide variety can make selecting a footbag difficult, even for the most experienced players. If you’re still unsure of which one is right for you, you can either buy all sixty-something or call our toll-free number (800) 878-8797 to speak with a member of our all-knowing staff. Happy Kicking!