How many pairs of running shoes do you have? How many do you need? I’ve got 4 but everyone needs at least 3. I’ll tell you about mine first. I have a road shoe, a trail shoe, a turf/track shoe, and a spike.
Here’s what you need.
A road shoe for runs on asphalt or dirt/gravel. Moderate midsole stack height if you are like me and don’t run too much. Maximalist maxi pad if you pound big miles.
A trail shoe with an aggressive traction-oriented outsole. Really makes a difference and keeps you from slipping.
A minimalist shoe of some sort. You can get some barefoot-mimicking option or just grab a light racing flat. On really nice grass or sand you can just go barefoot but for running fast, free, and light on fields and tracks this is the ticket.
Can you do it all with just one? Yes but it’s a compromise and your enjoyment and performance will be lessened. Clunkchunk shoes feel wonky on grass. Trail shoes are overkill for roads. You don’t need the latest tech. Shop the sales and get $40 models. $120 is great for a 3-shoe quiver. You can certainly spend more if you want but you don’t have to.
I hate seeing people show up at the field for training wearing maxi pads as much as I hate seeing trails shoes on the track. Life is too short.