Footbag Care & Maintenance
Not only are today’s higher-tech footbags easier to use, they’re considerably easier to break in than some of their stiff predecessors. In other words, gone are the days of backing over your footbag with the car, stomping it into the pavement, and saturating it with an assortment of mysterious oils and lotions. Now the best way to get them ready for play is to simply roll them vigorously between your hands to help soften the cover material and stretch the seams flat. Often within minutes, your new footbag is ready to go and will continue to break in with repeated use. Sand-filled footbags may require no break in procedures.
Although there have been countless footbag games created over the years, the four mentioned below have emerged as the most widely played and standardized. [For complete, official rules, consult the International Footbag Committee rule book, online at http://www.footbag.org/rules, or on sale through our on-line ordering system. Naturally, along with these specialized games, there has been an evolution of specialized footbags to accommodate them. Most players will naturally gravitate toward footbag freestyle as their game of choice since the type of footbag used is apt to be quite similar to the one they learned with. Just as soft, pliable footbags enable easy control and the development of fundamental skills, they’re also perfectly suited for the innumerable delay tricks and graceful movements of freestyle play. For footbag net, you’ll require a firmer footbag with a little more “pop” and durability to carry it distances of up to forty feet at high speeds. Roundness, accurate response, and highly visible colors are also factors in choosing the right net footbag. The cover materials typically used in producing high-performance net footbags are cowhide and vinyl. In the most basic of games, footbag consecutive, there is some discrepancy over what makes a footbag ideal. Some kickers prefer a softer footbag for added control, while others lean towards a firmer model, requiring less effort to keep it aloft during long rallies. Whatever camp you’re in, you’ll probably want to choose a multi-paneled footbag for the added roundness and predictability. Finally, footbag golf requires several different types of footbags. In fact, golfers will often walk a course equipped with a half dozen or more at their disposal. You’ll usually use a tight, hard footbag (like a net footbag) for driving long distances off the tee. As you approach the hole, you can use a footbag of either soft or medium consistency to chip it in or near the hole. To putt, you’ll typically use your softest footbag. Considering all of the different kicking situations golfers find themselves in, it’s a good idea to have a wide assortment of footbags from which to choose.
World Footbag staff carefully selects and tests all of the footbags we carry for workmanship, durability, and performance. In addition, all footbags meet the International Footbag Committee (IFC) standards for use in competition. Due to the delicate qualities of our footbags, only limited guarantees are available.
The best way to save synthetic footbags from a premature retirement is to keep them clean. Dirt acts as an abrasive on the cover material causing excessive wear during routine use. To wash synthetic footbags run cool tap water over the footbag and massage in some dish soap. Be sure to rinse your footbag free of soap and lightly squeeze out any excess water. Roll the footbag round again and let it dry at room temperature. Avoid kicking your footbag when it is wet as this can cause damage with some footbag models. This kind of preventive maintenance is not necessary with your cowhide or pigskin leather footbag, but if they do happen to get wet it’s usually not a big deal. Roll it round again and let it dry at room temperature. When it dries completely, apply a small amount of oil (mink oil, snow seal or any good leather dressing) before using. This will help prevent the leather from drying out and cracking.
Over the years, many players have developed special preferences for particular footbag weights. As a result, there’s a temptation to pop open some stitches and modify the amount of filler inside. However, more often than not this kind of amateur surgery results in a severely deformed or irreparably mutilated footbag. Not good. If you’ve done this, you might be able to cut your losses by applying some Freesole® repair adhesive
as described in the footbag repair section below. Alternatively, if you want a little more or less weight to your footbag or you simply want to replenish some lost sand, try the following: Take a “scratch awl” (e.g., blunt, tapered instrument used for piercing wood or leather) or an ordinary freshly sharpened pencil, and carefully ease the awl (or pencil) into a seam, gently rotate it as you push it deeper between the stitches creating a small opening. You’ll discover that the seams will start to spread apart quite easily, opening a hole through which you can add sand or shake out or insert filler pellets. When you’ve reached your desired weight, simply roll the footbag in your hands to again pull the stitches uniformly throughout the entire footbag. All it takes is a gentle touch and a little patience.
To add a lot of weight without increasing the footbag’s density too much, try inserting small ball bearings or BB’s rather than plastic pellets. They work great and, like plastic pellets, won’t break down with extended use.
Cleanliness will prolong the life of your footbag, but not indefinitely. Even so, don’t abandon your old favorites as soon as you see pellets or sand start flying. A while back we experimented with a variety of different repair adhesives and discovered a particular brand that was perfect for closing up footbag injuries. Freesole® is ideal for seam repairs and damaged cover materials of all kinds. A single tube of Freesole® (one ounce) should last you a lifetime if used exclusively for footbag repairs. (However, it’s awesome for a range of other fix-it projects including shoes, car seats, watch bands, toys, and younger brothers.) Before applying Freesole® to synthetic footbags, be sure to wash and dry them thoroughly. Gently squeeze out a small dab onto a piece of paper and use a tooth pick or paper clip to lightly apply a thin layer over the damaged area. Remember that a little goes a long way and “less is best” for you and your footbags. You can always apply more if needed. Let your repaired footbag rest at room temperature for at least 24 hours before playing with it. Once dried, Freesole® is washable, flexible and permanent. The manufacturer recommends storing your opened tube in the freezer to keep it fresh and prolong its life. Freesole® is available through our online ordering system.