Nicole DeBoom on Skirt Sports, Fitness and How Fashion Can Enhance Athletic Performance

Looking fashionable while working out in comfort can be a challenge; some women want to break a sweat without resorting to sweatpants. That's why the Boulder-based sportswear clothing brand Skirt Sports was born. Founder Nicole DeBoom, a swimmer in the 1988 Olympic Trials, was a professional triathlete from 1999 to 2005; she's competed in over 100 triathlon events, including six Ironman competitions, and was named the 2004 Ironman Wisconsin Champion. And now she's applying that same competitive attitude to actionwear; Skirt Sports pioneered the running skirt and remains one of the only women's sports apparel brands with a full line of products including leggings, sports bras, tanks, running skirts and accessories. The company also sponsors clinics to help women to achieve their running goals.

We recently chatted with DeBoom, founder/CEO of Skirt Sports, to find out how being a triathlete influenced her clothing line and how she's changing her community.

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Westword: Are you from Denver?

Nicole DeBoom: I'm actually a Boulderite via the Chicago suburbs. I've lived in Colorado since shortly after I met my husband on an airplane in 1995. I consider Colorado my home and I have no plans to move my life or business elsewhere. I love it here.

What inspired you to start Skirt Sports?

In my former career as a professional triathlete, the athletic clothing options for women were very limited and uninspired. I often found myself training and racing in men's products that didn't fit or perform to my needs as a woman. In December 2003, I had what I call an epiphany run. I spied my reflection in a storefront window in Lyons, Colorado, and after realizing that I was incredibly uninspired in my boyish designs, I locked onto the concept of creating products that would actually inspire me to get out the door and take my personality with me, instead of leaving it at home!

Do you think sportswear can be fashionable?

Not only can it be fashionable, it must be fashionable today. Ten years ago, fitness clothing served one purpose: exercising. Now women are leading busier lives and they want and need the flexibility to be both comfortable and fashionable as they transition through their days.

How has your history of being a triathlete assisted your work as a fashion designer/business woman? Being a professional triathlete has helped in many areas of the business. First, I am an expert consumer of the product. I know what it takes to perform effectively at a high level, and I bring that experience to the product line. However, I'm not a fashion designer or businesswoman by trade, so I rely on the other skills I developed as a competitive athlete: grit, determination, focus and the ability to suffer when things get tough!

Who are some of your style and fashion icons?

I appreciate women who take chances. I may not always agree with their fashion statements, but I love their courage and ability to stay true to themselves. Kathrine Switzer got it right when she won the New York Marathon in a tennis dress in 1974, and more importantly paved the way for women to run marathons after she became the first woman to run the 1967 Boston Marathon! Venus and Serena Williams are amazing athletes, not afraid to showcase their athleticism, and they are the ultimate fashion risk-takers, without compromising performance. I also highly appreciate the original Wonder Woman, who wore one of the original skirts!

What is the price range of the garments?

Our tops range from $30 to $90 and our bottoms range from $50 to $135 depending on the style. Our best-selling skirt is the Gym Girl Ultra with built-in shorties, $67.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

Skirt Sports' brand goal is to nurture an amazing community of women by sharing stories about their running lives. From Relaxing to Running to Celebrating, we are all here for each other. Skirt Sports highly encourages women to submit their stories of inspiration -- the ripple effect of helping each other can be so powerful!

Skirt Sports holds a clinic on the first Tuesday of the month; the next clinic, "I Eat Hills for Breakfast" (which includes hill-training tips with a tutorial), is February 3. Skirt Sports will also soon release its Spring 2015 collection. For more information -- and to shop! -- visit the Skirt Sports website.

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Mauricio Octavio Rocha graduated from Metropolitan State University of Denver in 2014 with a bachelor's degree in English writing and a minor in cinema studies; He has been writing about fashion and style for Westword since 2012. Rocha also writes songs for his music and art project, VULGAR FEVER.
Contact: Mauricio Rocha