Latex is a natural product made from the sap of rubber trees, whipped with air into a foam, and heated to solid form. It’s now also available as a pure synthetic. Both have the following properties:
Like memory foam, latex is available in a "slab" style. But latex is more commonly found in a traditional quilted style, and as a comfort layer within a traditional looking and feeling mattress.
One term often associated with latex is "Talalay," which refers to a specific manufacturing process using a mold with heating/cooling rods and vacuums to refine the latex, remove the air to the right density, flash-freeze it, and cure it at very high temperatures.
There are now also "blended" Talalay processes that combine Talalay with synthetics to achieve superior performance at lower prices.
The alternate process is called "Dunlop," which is very similar except that no air is displaced by vacuum, and it’s cured at lower temperatures, making the process more affordable – but no less effective in producing high-quality latex.
- Latex is inherently hypo-allergenic, anti-microbial and dust-mite resistant.
- Latex is naturally supportive and pressure-relieving
- Latex most often looks and feels like a traditional innerspring mattress
- Latex is breathable and cool; it naturally reduces heat build-up
- Latex is durable; it retains its shape for many more years than metal springs or other foams
- Latex is available in the full range of comfort or softness, including pillowtops
NOTE: People with allergies to the latex in gloves are rarely (if ever) sensitive to latex mattresses. It’s a different formulation, plus there are several material barriers between the latex and the skin, so there is no direct contact.