Baden might not ring as many bells as the likes of Spalding or Wilson, but this small family business has built a strong reputation as a quality ball manufacturer. The Baden Elite is their flagship indoor basketball and is commonly seen in high school competition.
Priced at $54.99, the Baden Elite positions itself right under the incredibly popular Wilson Evolution. It therefore makes sense to draw some comparisons with the Evolution throughout this review.
- ELITE - Baden’s Elite basketball with a moisture grip gives you superior ball control throughout your game. You can only achieve Perfection by designing for athletes, using the best raw materials, and paying attention to every detail
- DESIGN - The Elite’s proprietary composite microfiber cover provides superior grip and tack for optimum basketball control. Its patented Cushion Control Technology (CCT) creates a softer feel, truer bounce, and longer life
- ADVANTAGE - This is a basketball that you can trust from the inside out. Whether you’re putting in hours practicing your free throws, passes, or draining three’s, this ball will help you reach your full potential on the court
- AVAILABLE - Intermediate Size 6 (28.5”) and Official Size 7 (29.5”), NFHS Approved and Ships Fully inflated
The Baden Elite definitely has a very grippy, tacky feel to it, much like the Wilson Evolution. If you like balls which are soft and easier to palm, the Baden Elite is one of the best choices out there.
Of course, the ideal amount of grip comes down to personal preference. Many people will find the Baden Elite to feel a bit too soft and prefer slightly smoother balls for the likes of shooting and passing.
By having one of these ultra-soft microfiber covers, the Baden Elite does not hold up well at all on outdoor surfaces. Given the fact that indoor basketballs cost around twice as much as outdoor basketballs, you might want to consider the Baden Contender if you want a more versatile, albeit less soft, ball.
Unlike the Evolution, the Baden doesn’t have pebbled channels. However, the Baden presents its own unique selling point in its stealth valve. The valve, which is used to feed air into the ball when pumping it up, is typically a problem area that can ever so slightly affect the bounce if that is the point of contact with the ground. It also makes handling around the valve more consistent.
The Elite cleverly hides the valve under the cover which reduces these potential inconsistencies a standard valve can produce. It’s a very small difference, but worth mentioning nevertheless.
The channels of a basketball are the black rubber lines that separate the panels. The Baden Elite’s channels are slightly wider than your average basketball, and also quite shallow.
Again, this is all personal preference. Some people like deeper panels which can potentially be a source of extra grip, while others prefer a less abrupt transition between the panel and channel.
Personally, I found the Baden Elite’s channels to be a bit wider than my liking, but the difference is small.
Being an NFHS approved basketball, the Baden Elite has a consistent bounce when pumped to around 8 psi. That means whenever you bounce it, it bounces in the way you’d expect.
The Baden can take a beating, so long as it’s on a smooth wooden surface. After a year of regular use, the Baden Elite showed the same level of wear I would expect from other similarly priced composite leather indoor balls. The ball also continued to retain air well, a problem which can make or break a basketball.
Overall the Baden Elite is a very decent indoor basketball. It is ever so slightly cheaper than the Wilson Evolution, which can make a big difference if you’re the sports director of a high school. But for most individuals, the Wilson Evolution edges it out with a slightly better bounce and superior channel design.
The Baden Elite is featured on our list of the best indoor basketballs, check the rest out if you’re still looking for the perfect basketball to be played indoors!