You’ll no doubt as as surprised as we were to find out that almost all of the starting blocks available are just terrible. Really, they’re not a complicated thing to get right, but somehow almost all of them miss the mark with plain and simple sloppy, subpar quality despite costing anywhere between $70 – $200.
That alone really narrowed down the options, but in the end it didn’t matter, because there’s really just one brand that’s a clear winner: ATE, who do a version for high School and collegiate use, and one for club use that’s sized more for adults. Here’s a whole bunch of reasons why:
- They exceed all NCAA & NFHS specifications
- They’re IAAF certified. (We found proof of the certificates. More on that further down.)
- Their design isn’t flimsy.
- They don’t ship them with missing parts (seriously, how does this happen so regularly with a lot of other starting blocks?).
- The pedal positions are adjustable to 4 angles without compromising the base stability of the starting block.
- They come with track surface spikes, so you can actually use them on a track properly.
You get the idea. There’s not a whole lot of considerations here to walk you through, because at this point it’s simply a matter of these being fit for the purpose – excelling at it even – and pretty much every other option out there being a poor imitation or being practically unusable to begin with.
So, first of all, here’s the table with these starting blocks that are actually really good:
|Best for High School / Collegiate Use||ATE Olympian School Block|
There’s a very good reason why these have been the best for decades. They’re just on a whole other level compared to the competition.
They’re also IAAF certified (proof here).
700mm (2′ 3 9/16“) long and 62mm (2 7/16“) wide.
Another Listing on Amazon
Alternate Amazon Listing with Shipping Costs but a 5 Year Warranty
|Best for Adults / Club Use||ATE Olympian Club Block|
These are a little longer and wider than the School version. Choose whichever option you think makes the most sense for your size or build.
800mm (2′ 7 1/2“) long and 75mm (2 15/16“) wide.
|Best Budget Option||HOTSTORE Starting Block|
Very cheap, and still sturdy. That’s the reason to go for these over all the other budget options out there. Somehow this starting block is better than many that cost even twice as much.
The first thing that you should know about these ATE ones, is that they’re resold on Amazon under a whole bunch of different brand names, but don’t be fooled. They’re all still ATE ones.
A whole bunch of them even clearly photoshopped the ATE logo out, which is kind of funny.
As for what makes these special, besides everything else we’ve already said above? They’re actually proven to be certified by the IAAF.
Here’s the certificate for the ATE Olympian School Block (click it to see the full size image):
And here’s the certificate for the ATE Olympian Club version (once again, click it for the full size image):
So there you have it. They’re not only good, but proven to be good.
Now all that’s the left is the difference between the two. It’s simple:
- The School version is 700mm (2′ 3 9/16“) long and 62mm (2 7/16“) wide.
- The Club version is 800mm (2′ 7 1/2“) long and 75mm (2 15/16“) wide.
Naturally, the only deciding factor is whether you think you’ll suit the adult sized one or not. It’s really down to personal preference there. Both versions are equally good in every way.
Best for High School / Collegiate Use
Best for Adults / Club Use
Other than those, there’s only really one other standout option, and that’s for more of an “on a budget” or “entry level” kind of price range.
The HOTSTORE Starting Block is exceptional simply because of how ridiculously cheap it is, despite being sturdy and still able to have its pedal angles be adjustable.
It’s not particularly the easiest starting block to adjust, but that doesn’t matter when it has a slotted aluminum alloy channel design that means it’s sturdy enough to do the job well by design. And that’s what really matters. It’s more of a foolproof design, which lets it get away with being so crazily cheap.
Best Budget Option
Starting Blocks We Absolutely Don’t Recommend
Actually not bad, but somehow there’s a whole lot of people who have been shipped one with parts missing. And it’s quite expensive.
Let’s face it. They’re nowhere near as grippy as a real starting block. Get these if you want the cheapest thing possible at the cost of almost all the performance benefits of an actual starting block.
Somehow too small, clunky, and jam-prone all at the same time. That is, if you get one that isn’t broken before it even arrived.
What We Think of Some Other Starting Blocks Available
Sturdy, has 6 track spikes included, well priced and generally well made. The design is similar to the budget option we looked at above, but this one costs a lot more.
If you lose the pin (which is easily done), then you’re out of luck. Otherwise, this is a solid choice.
We hope this list of the best starting blocks has been helpful.
If there’s anything good that you think we’ve missed, or if you have any questions about anything, then let us know down in the comments below.