Gel Latex Hybrid Mattress

Hi. I have been reading through this forum, in search of a new mattress, and think it is a wonderful resource. I wish that similar resources were available with regard to other products, like various electronics, where misinformation is rife and big retailers/manufacturers benefit from spreading such misinformation.

On the site’s advice, I went to a local mattress store today to try out mattresses. I have been sleeping on latex pillows from infancy and thought I would prefer a latex mattress. I am in my early thirties, 5’7", 165lbs., and have no known orthopedic problems. I am single and plan to buy a queen mattress for my own use. I have had longstanding problems with overheating when I sleep, on pillowtop mattresses and, to a lesser degree, on a down sofa. These overheating problems do not appear on some hotel mattresses, an air mattress with a down topper, or on friends’ non-pillowtop innerspring mattresses.

When visiting the retailer, I found, to my surprise, that I preferred a mattress that combined latex on top with a layer of gel foam below, over a pure latex mattress. The former offered better support and cradled my body while also providing the benefits of the latex. The mattress I tried and liked was the Corsicana Sensations, which can be obtained locally by me, with box spring, for ~$900. Here is info on the Corsicana Sensations:

I am concerned, however, that this might not be a very good mattress, mainly because the latex and gel foam layers seem rather thin. Do you have any information on the Corsicana brand, and the quality of foam they use? Unfortunately, they do not seem to make a higher end model with thicker gel or latex foam. Are there any comparable mattresses that utilize a greater quantity or quality of gel and latex foam? I noticed that NexGel makes a gel/foam hybrid mattress, but the ones that are significantly thicker than the Corsicana tend toward $3000, which is out of my price range. Might I, perhaps, consider buying a good quality gel mattress, like the Ultimate Dreams one on Amazon, and then adding a 2" or 3" high-quality latex topper?

Many thanks,

Hello Todd. I did a search and came up with some info on Corsicana. Check around post 22.

Good luck. Lew

I don’t what what you’re trying to budget for a mattress, but I think you will find that some mattresses don’t maintain their feel for very long. Everything is going to feel pretty good when it is in the showroom. It’s new, and it’s flat. However, that can change fairly quickly, and the quality of materials used will have a big impact on this. I would be cautious of any bed that represents itself as having latex, and gel, and layer upon layer of many different materials. In the design of some products, the goal is to check a lot of different boxes as far as features are concerned. This can lead to a product sounding good on paper, but in reality, it’s a lot of bells and whistles with not much substance. If the layers are thin, then you’re not really getting much benefit. If you’re really looking for value, then it might be worth while to seek out a two sided mattress.
As far as heat issues are concerned, get a wool filled mattress pad. Make sure it is machine washable. Wool is proven to reduce tossing and turning by providing better temperature regulation. The hollow structure of the wool fiber provides good wicking of perspiration and will help you avoid fanning the covers.
This brings me to the gel. Gel is frequently used as a gimmick. It was a gimmick when it was used in the waterbed era, and it is usually a gimmick this time around too. [editorializing here] Gel is for the lazy salesperson who has a customer that is pre-sold on memory foam, but is concerned about it sleeping hot; the salesperson will follow the path of least resistance. “oh you hear memory foam sleeps hot? Gel foam gives you the same feel and is cooler.” What the customer doesn’t know is that gel doesn’t sleep cooler. It will feel cooler for a little while. But it will get hotter as you warm it up. Once warmed up, it is less breathable than even memory foam.
I feel bad for people who have a real issue with temperature regulation who are taken in by this marketing. Hopefully you can avoid becoming one of them.
It can be used in applications and formulations that provide actual medical benefit; however this is only sometimes the case.

I wasn’t taken in by the putative heat-regulating capacity of the gel, but rather by the comfort it provided over the latex-alone model, from my perspective. Brooklyn bedding uses these gels prominently in their mattresses. Are they selling stuff that is a pure gimmick, from your perspective? The Brooklyn Bedding Aloe Adelle mattress combines a layer of gel and one of latex. Is this what you are talking about, in re: a gimmicky bed combining multiple layers of different materials?

Hi toddking,

From a personal perspective … I happen to like some combinations of latex and memory foam comfort layers and they have a feel to them which combines the properties of both of them (depending on the layer thickness of each) in a way that can be quite unique. I don’t keep a list of mattresses by material or design but I know that some of the Therapedic and Restonic mattresses also use a combination of latex and memory foam and there are also other manufacturers or local manufacturers that may have this available as well. It can be a very good choice for those who prefer this type of “feel” as long as the materials they use are high quality.

While my own preferences lean more towards all latex … my personal favorite of the hybrid latex memory foam comfort layers is a thin layer of latex on top (say 1" to 2") and then a thin layer of memory foam underneath (say 2" or so) over a more resilient support layer because I like the more resilient surface feel but the slow sinking in of the memory foam underneath it which in turn is “stopped” fairly quickly by more resilient layers (such as latex or polyfoam) underneath this. In most cases though … you will find this the other way around (slow response memory foam over fast response latex) and this would probably be a more common preference. Some of the Tempurpedic weightless models use thinner layers of memory foam over a more resilient layer underneath them (although it’s not latex).

Corsicana is a somewhat unusual manufacturer. They are growing rapidly and according to the last numbers I’ve seen have become #4 in the country but they are also not usually transparent about most of the materials in their mattresses (they probably don’t want to open up a war with the manufacturers that are larger than they are because if they did become transparent and started disclosing the quality of the materials in their mattresses it would certainly have an effect on the industry). Having said that … I have come across some retailers that appear to have more detailed and complete specs on some of their mattresses and in this case they would be worth considering because you could then make meaningful quality and value comparisons with other mattresses. Without this information … there is no way for you to know the quality or value of any mattress and I personally wouldn’t consider it.

In the case of the specs you listed for the Sensations … they show the thickness and type of materials in each layer (which is better than many) but they are missing the most important part of the information about the quality/density of each layer. The only layer that you can tell is better quality is the latex (because all latex is relatively good quality compared to other foams) but it doesn’t provide information about the type or blend of the latex which I would also want to know.

While Corsicana is probably better “value” in its price range than other competing larger manufacturers … I wouldn’t consider any mattress where I had to make a blind purchase because no matter how it feels in a showroom … the quality of the materials (particularly in the upper layers) will determine how long it stays close to the level of comfort and support it had when it was new.

This would certainly be an option (if you liked the latex over memory foam feel more than the other way around) but I would also consider a mattress that already had the layering you liked (such as the Aloe Adelle which can be reversed or some of the other mattresses made by some of the online members here which also have various combinations of slow and fast response comfort layers) without having to go through the guesswork and uncertainty of adding a topper where you haven’t tested the specific combination (unless of course the topper had a good return policy).

I would much prefer to deal with only one variable (a mattress) instead of two (a mattress and a topper) unless I had tested the combination or there were no other options available in which case I would first order the mattress and sleep on it for a while and then use my experience on the mattress after any adjustment or break in period as a guideline to choose a topper.


Thank you for the extremely helpful and informative reply.

It is my understanding that Corsicana was born from a shipping company. They would dead head back from destinations, and wanted to be more efficient. Creating a mattress manufacturing business would allow them to pick up mattress materials in their own truck, and fill empty space on their trucks with product. Building upon this, and developing their mattress manufacturing business on a philosophy of efficiency, and cost sensitivity, they have spread from the South (Texas I think) outward. They are known in the mattress industry for creating thick and light weight mattresses. One of the ways they were able to manage costs is by purchasing foams that are “irregulars” and vary in densities. They have a unique system for managing damaged, or imperfect finished products as well, empowering the drivers of their trucks to negotiate discounts on the spot at the time of delivery to the retailers.

The race to the bottom in mattress quality has been very competitive.

Combining different materials isn’t a gimmick. Nearly all beds will be a combination of layers. However, putting 3/8" of latex, or gel foam, or memory foam is not actually giving you any benefit of any of those materials; this sort of mattress is purely meant to capitalize on terms that add value in the consumers mind. And yes gel foam is a usually used as a gimmick. In some formulation it wears out faster than standard poly/memory foams when blended together, and will not provide long term temperature relief.

Interesting history re; Corsicana, though I don’t think the company’s origins have an relation to the quality of their products. I am not looking to purchase the Corsicana mattress. Rather, I mentioned the company because I am looking for higher quality alternatives.

Do you have a really solid basis for passing on these rumors? Lew

I have had the opportunity to speak with Corsicana sales representatives who detailed the history to me (this falls into the “fuzzy memories” category, as well as the discounting at the time of delivery by their drivers (this is not fuzzy at all, as it is very unique from my experience). As far as product longevity is concerned, I was at a manufacturing facility doing a tear down of a Corsicana mattress today, and was able to see the guts of one of their products; it was clean looking, but the foam was very low weight, my guess (stress that this is a guess) is roughly 1lb density poly foam. This will be subject to compression at a much higher rate than the foams I’ve seen other (even low end) mattress manufacturers use.

Thanks for elaborating. Lew

Hi BGarfield,

While this is not to defend or disparage Corsicana and I agree with the comment that the race to the bottom is very competitive … I have also noticed that it’s a human trait to “guess” in different ways depending on the underlying feeling someone has about what they are guessing about.

If someone doesn’t like something … guesses will usually lean or err towards the negative side of things and if someone likes something … then guesses usually lean or err towards the positive side of things. I would doubt that most people could clearly tell the difference between 1.0 lb foam and 1.2 lb foam or even other densities. It also seems to encourage the selective passing on of information or rumors which support an underlying opinion which hasn’t been verified or confirmed because someone “wants to believe it”.

While it’s certainly true that Corsicana has built its reputation on being a “value” brand and I don’t think there is any doubt that the quality of their materials is not the highest … they sell a range of mattresses that vary in their design and the materials they use and value is relative to both quality and price. Without knowing specifically the quality of the materials they use there is no way to make meaningful comparisons with other mattresses and “guessing” is certainly not a great way to evaluate anything. The big “S” companies also use a lot of 1.2 lb polyfoam in their mattresses that will soften and impress much more quickly and they are not a “value” brand at all.

I have also talked with many retailers who have told me that Corsicana is one of the most responsive manufacturers they have ever dealt with in terms of dealing with quality or warranty issues instead of making their retailers (and in turn their customers) jump through hoops when there are issues with a mattress. This also doesn’t say they are “good or bad” in terms of quality or value … just that there are many different opinions and versions of the Corsicana story depending on who you talk to and on the relationship they have with Corsicana.

All of this “discussion” about the relative merits of any “brand” can bypass all the opinions though if the focus is on the specific quality of the materials inside it and the ability to get this information easily from a retailer or manufacturer. As I have said so often on the forum … without this information any opinions about the quality of a mattress or its relative merits … good or bad … has little meaning.


Hi BGarfield,

While there is some truth to this of course (especially about the gel hype that is so common in the industry today) … there is also clear evidence and information available that gel materials do have some benefits and can improve the properties of the foams they are added to. As is so often the case … sweeping generalizations that don’t take into account the many variations of a material and their relative benefits aren’t usually very accurate.

My reply to your post about gel materials in another thread here includes links to more information about gel foams that makes a distinction between different types and better and lower quality gel foam materials instead of lumping them all together into a single group and evaluating them as a single material.