Footbags come in many shapes, sizes, designs, and materials. Before you select a footbag, you should really have some idea what you're going to do with it. This page describes the types of footbag most commonly used for the sport, and gives suggestions as to what to look for.
The following information is contained on this page:
The following is a list of some footbag manufacturers (by no means complete). We eventually hope to have complete information on each type of footbag.
The most common form of footbag, freestyle, involves basic kicking, passing, and tricks (both kicks and "stalls"). Freestyle players range in ability from novices (still learning basic kicks to participate in a circle) to advanced players (doing complex combinations of maneuvers requiring exacting dexterity and timing, as well as a lot of practice).
Regardless of the level of player, freestyle requires a specific type of footbag. In general, the footbag should be soft, durable, round, and easy to break in. (A hard footbag, like the original two-panel Hacky Sack®, is very difficult for freestyle because it is relatively bouncy, making it frustrating for newer players to control the bag, and making it virtually impossible for advanced freestylers to "stall". However, Mattel Sports has since come out with a much more modern line of footbags. There are two basic types of freestyle footbags: crocheted footbags and those made from stitched panels. The crocheted footbags are good for beginners because they are almost always a good size, durable, and round. Unfortunately, many crocheted bags can be hard to break in--but once broken in, they make for good freestyling. The most popular brand of crocheted footbag is the Sipa Sipa® footbag, sold in many sporting goods stores. The Sipa Sipa ® footbags are consistent in their manufacture and weight, and very durable, as compared to other brands of crocheted footbags.
Stitched footbags come in a variety of sizes, and have a varying number of panels. The number of panels tends to affect the price, as well as the material from which they are made. The best materials are synthetics that mimick soft leathers, because they break in quickly, are relatively durable, and can withstand water (in fact, most synthetics are washable). Generally speaking, the more panels, the rounder the footbag, but the more expensive. There are quite a few brands of multi-panel footbags, listed below.
For beginners, we recommend the adidas ® Footbag 14-panel "sport model" bag made from a washable, durable, soft synthetic material -- available in most sporting goods stores that carry adidas ® products. For advanced freestyle players, we recommend either the Twisted (tm) footbag (with a unique swirling panel design made from a washable synthetic) or the Juice (tm) footbag, a 32-panel (like a soccer-ball) washable synthetic bag.
Most footbags are between 25 and 45 grams, half-way between the size of a golf ball and a baseball. Size and weight are very much a matter of personal preference for freestyle.
For playing footbag net, the choice of footbag is very important. In net, players need to be able to accurately direct the footbag, deliver powerful shots, and not have the bag "flop" around. Footbag net players tend to look for round, firm, and sturdy footbags -- i.e., footbags that don't break in too much, hold their shape, and aren't too hard to kick straight up or over the net.
There are really only a few footbags well-suited to the game of footbag net. The Mattel Sports "Jammer (TM)" was reasonably good for net but is hard to find nowadays. However, the newer "Net Juice (TM)", made by Flying Clipper Footbags, is the current bag of choice by most advanced footbag net players. The Net Juice is a 32-panel bag (just like the freestyle "Juice"), but made of vinyl instead of a soft leather substitute. We highly suggest using the Flying Clipper Net Juice for every level of footbag net play.
We have a list of footbag retailers you can consult to order a footbag if you cannot find one locally.
Eric Tiffany has supplied a great collection of PostScript ® footbag patterns that you can download, print out, and use as guides for material to make your own footbags! All the information, including directions as well as the patterns, are on the:
Good luck, and let us know how they work for you.
Check out our page for information on other footbag equipment.