What Is Latex Foam? A Comprehensive Guide

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When it comes to choosing a mattress, the options seem endless. Among the many choices, latex mattresses have gained popularity for their unique features and benefits. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the world of latex mattresses, exploring what they are, their types, benefits, and more. By the end of this article, you'll have a clear understanding of whether a latex mattress is the right choice for you.

What is a Latex Mattress?

A latex mattress is a type of mattress that is primarily constructed from natural or synthetic latex foam. Latex, in its purest form, is derived from the sap of rubber trees, making it a sustainable and eco-friendly material choice. Latex foam was first used in different products such as seats and sofa cushions, and then it started popping up in the bedding market with latex mattresses.

Latex mattresses can combine other types of foam and even innerspring coils to enhance the comfort and pressure relief you might get. However, that depends on the manufacturer, and different types of latex can be combined to create a supportive and durable feel for you.

They come in different designs, which include a combination of foam and latex, latex and coils, latex only, and more. The latex in these mattresses forms a layer that is somewhat similar to the layer that comes in foam mattresses.

The latex mattress consists of a thick layer of open-celled latex, which helps make the mattress feel cooler and more breathable in comparison to other types of mattresses. These mattresses are becoming pretty popular nowadays because of their durability, support, and hypoallergenic features.

latex mattress


There are several types of latex, and each type is made in a specific way using particular ingredients. The types are as follows:

  • Natural: Natural latex is made from the fluids produced by rubber trees. Dunlop is a perfect example of natural latex.
  • Dunlop: This type is 100% natural and is extracted from rubber tree liquid. The Dunlop used in mattresses has one problem: it's made without any fillers, creating inconsistent results with a softer feel on the top layer and a more dense feel at the bottom.
  • Synthetic: Synthetic latex is a man-made material that mimics natural latex. It is less durable than natural latex, but it is safe for people with latex allergies.
  • Blended: This type of latex is created by combining natural and synthetic latex. Although blended latex is more affordable than natural latex, it contains fewer chemicals than synthetic latex. A great example of this type is the Talalay.
  • Talalay: This latex is made by pouring natural latex into a mold at various stages of the manufacturing process. The next step is to vacuum the mold after each pour of latex to remove air bubbles and ensure an even fit. The next step is to freeze the latex layer and reheat it until the texture is uniform throughout the mold. Talalay latex may be more technologically advanced, but it is never entirely natural or organic because of the artificial fillers used in its production.

Why Choose Latex Mattresses?

  • Responsiveness - Latex mattresses can easily support you when you change your sleep positions during the night. This means you can toss and turn as much as you want without feeling stuck in the mattress.
  • Durable - One of the standout features of latex mattresses is their longevity. Natural latex mattresses, in particular, can last for 15 years or more with proper care. This durability not only provides long-term comfort but also makes them a cost-effective choice.
  • Cooling and Breathable - The latex in this type of mattress has an open-cell structure which gives it better airflow and can help you stay very cool during warm temperatures. This mattress helps you stay cool throughout the night by moving body heat away from the mattress, thus making the surface stay cool.
  • Eco-Friendly - The price point of these mattresses is that they are sustainable and environmentally friendly. Latex mattresses are biodegradable and are sourced from the fluids of rubber trees without having to cut the trees down.
  • Pressure-Relieving - Latex mattresses are very soft which helps in alleviating pressure points in your body when you lay on the surface. By releasing pressure from various areas of your body, this feature prevents you from waking up with morning aches and discomfort. But it's best to stick with memory foam mattresses if you have joint issues or arthritis, as they can give you a deeper pressure relief feature.

Why Avoid Latex Mattresses?

  • Costly: The main downside of latex mattresses is that they cost a bit more in comparison to other foam mattresses. This is because making and acquiring latex takes a lot of time and resources, but it may depend on the type of latex used in the mattress. For instance, natural latex is extracted from rubber tree saps and then turned into latex, which needs a lot of knowledge and specific machinery that is pretty expensive. Synthetic latex mattresses can be less costly because they don’t require that many resources. So, if you’re on a budget avoid natural latex mattresses, stick with synthetic instead, or try other foam mattresses.
  • Heavy: We’ve mentioned before how latex mattresses can be pretty dense and heavy, and a typical king-sized latex mattress can weigh anywhere between 180-200 lb. This can be a drawback if you’re looking for a mattress that’s easy for you to handle and set up alone.
  • Rubbery Smell: Another issue with latex foam mattresses is the rubbery smell they first come with. However, it goes away on its own pretty quickly and it’s not a harmful scent, just pretty strong. If that rubbery smell is too much for you, open the windows in your room for a few hours before using the mattress. Also, it's important to note that non-natural mattresses might include a stronger off-gassing scent. So, make sure you're buying a natural latex mattress if you have a problem with those scents.


Latex foam is extracted from rubber tree sap and was first used to make seats and cushions, now they are pretty popular in the making of latex mattresses. There are several types of latex and they can be combined to make one mattress, giving you several benefits.

Latex as a material includes a pretty soft, supportive, and pressure-alleviating feature, and being used in mattresses, it offers the same features to you while you’re asleep. However, latex mattresses can be expensive compared to other types, are heavy to handle, and come with a rubbery smell.

After reading this piece, you’ll be able to distinguish between latex mattresses and which one would be the better choice for you.

Dom Abraham

Editorial Director

As the lead content writer at Sleepiverse. Dom pours his heart into writing mattress reviews, bedding product reviews, and medically-reviewed health articles. Dom is from Portugal and likes to spend his free time writing on the beach as it gives him a sense of comfort. Aside from writing mattress reviews in front of the soothing beach view, Dom likes to experiment with new amazing food ideas.