Latex Locally

Thanks Phoenix for this site.

We started with an interest in Tempurpedic but leaning toward latex based on everything we are learning here. Thing is, i haven’t loved the feel of the Nature’s Rest and Sleep Options latex mattresses I’ve tested locally. The pushback sensation was quite noticeable and not particularly comfortable, at least based on a very brief test drive. Are these decent samples of what a latex mattress feels like, at least in a general sense? I know Natures Rest was talaly and Sleep Options DuPont latex, but otherwise in the dark on their specs (ILD, layers, etc)–the sales folks weren’t that knowledgeable and I didn’t push that hard for spec sheets since I was just trying to develop a general sense of what latex feels like.

Other suggestions on latex samples we might try in the Boston area? We are going to try to visit Gardner Mattresses as you have mentioned but any other ideas most appreciated.

Thanks again

Hi SantaFay,

The idea of pushback is an interesting one and while it is mentioned a lot on various sites … it is actually more about resistance and pressure than it is about pushback itself. Post #2 here goes into this in more detail. Once a body is at rest on any material … all the forces that are “pushing” in different directions become equalized and what a person feels at this point is the pressure or the weight that is being supported by each part of the body at rest. The body at rest only feels pressure … not the direction of the pressure (whether its push down with weight or push back with resilience).

In addition to this … latex is also more resilient (absorbs less energy) and has a higher sag factor (gets firmer faster with increasing compression) than other materials. The resiliency means that the foam “stores” more energy and “gives it back” when your body moves while memory foam “absorbs” more energy which turns into heat and doesn’t give it back when you move. Memory foam in other words “resists” movement more than latex while latex “assists” movement more than memory foam.

The combination of ILD, sag factor, resiliency, hysteresis (absorbing of energy), elasticity, point elasticity, viscosity, temperature sensitivity, and other factors (such as the cell structure itself, the breathability or resistance to the movement of air within the material, and even things such as creep which is the tendency of a material to relax over time) are what results in the “feel” of different foams and why each type of foam has different performance characteristics.

So what you feel as pushback would likely be a combination of pressure sensitivity in a certain area of your body along with the feeling (such as movement assistance) of the material itself. The pressure distribution part or “pushback” can be altered by changing the ILD and layering scheme or zoning of a particular foam. Other characteristics though (such as higher resiliency, lower hysteresis, sag factor, etc) are part of the nature of the material itself. This is why some people really like say a layer of soft latex over an innerspring but not so much the same layer of latex over a latex core. This is also part of the reason that someone try a HR polyfoam layer and compare it to a latex layer with the same thickness, ILD and sag factor but like the feel of one over the other even though by two of the most important measurements they seem to be very similar. In this case the latex could have a higher resiliency and a lower hysteresis as well as many other differences which results in a preference of one over the other.

So if the feeling of “pushback” is more connected to actual pressure relief or pressure distribution … then it would be a matter of adjusting the ILD or the layer thickness or the layer combinations of the latex. If it was more connected to the overall feel of the latex material itself, then of course this is a preference that would indicate other materials either in the comfort layers or in the support core or both. Innersprings for example have far more pushback than latex and store more energy but their feel is different than latex because of the many other differences between how foam and steel (which only compresses in one direction) react to pressure. For some people, more pushback (progressive resistance) than latex can provide may be desirable in a mattress core for their “feel” preference but less “pushback” in a mattress comfort layer (say memory foam or a lower ILD of latex) may be much closer to their desired feel.

While latex is a great material and can provide very similar pressure relief to other materials including memory foam in certain ILDs and layering schemes … it is certainly not the preference of all people in its other “specs” and when it comes to personal preference no matter how they are described … there is no right or wrong here.

With the Spring Air Natures Rest (who do make mattresses that are all Talalay latex as well as other types) and with the Sleep Options (made by Classic Brands who use various combinations of latex and polyfoam) it would be important to know the layering of each mattress which would help a lot in determining whether the feeling of pushback you experience is more related to the latex itself or to the “adjustable” qualities of latex. For example if someone lay on a polyfoam comfort layer that was 50 ILD and it was way to hard for them (which it would be for most people), then this is one of the adjustable qualities of polyfoam and if they described polyfoam as being “too hard” they would probably avoid all polyfoam altogether because they would connect polyfoam to “hardness”. So while latex as well as other materials can have a huge variety of different variations … they also have common characteristics among all the variations and there is no material that can provide for the preferences of all people.

This is part of the “art and science” of mattress construction, and even mattress testing, and why it is so much fun … and frustrating at times :). Combining objective qualities of each material with objective needs and subjective preferences of each person and differentiating between them can certainly be difficult. In the end though … at least IMO … its well worth it.


Hi SantaFay,

I almost forgot …

Post #2 here includes some factory direct outlets in and near Boston, MA.


Thanks very much Phoenix, really appreciate your thinking on this.

Makes sense to wonder whether I was reacting to the inherent nature of latex or the particular specs of what I was lying on. While I don’t have any info on the interior of the Sleep Options mattress from Sleepys, I can at least say that the Nature’s Rest mattress I tried elewhere was reported to have 3" of talaly latex on top of a 6" latex core with a 2" HD foam base – I couldn’t get any info on ILDs or the type of core latex (and it probably won’t be helpful but the “model” was called the Harbor Island 11" mattress). The store also had another Nature’s Rest that had 5" talaly on top but I’m ignoring that one because I think that’s too thick a comfort layer for us – me as a back & side sleeping 6’, 205 lb. guy and my 5’ 3", 120 lb wife who is mostly a side-sleeper.

I know that’s not much more to work with, but does this layering info make you lean one way?

I will try to check out some of the local outlets you mentioned in that other thread. And even though they’re not local to us, I really like what I read about mygreenmattress, especially the Organic Dreams mattress that I read about on their website and their new gel-foam you’re discussing on that other thread. All the more reason to find more local latex offerings to try out first!

Thanks again for your help and information.

Hi SantaFay,

The specs on the Sleep Options latex mattresses are here (for the 11") and here (for the 8").

In the case of the 11" version … it has 1" of polyfoam over 3" of Dunlop latex over a 2" layer of very soft polyfoam over the base of firmer polyfoam. This is a very unusual construction (where there is very soft polyfoam under the latex) and would not be representative of a “typical” Dunlop latex mattress. The 8" version has 2" of soft Dunlop over a very firm polyfoam. This too would not be typical of most Dunlop latex mattresses because of how thin the upper layer is. In addition to this … when you see Dunlop latex in ILD’s of 20 or lower … it is usually made with a continuous pour process rather than a mold process and the ILD of this type of Dunlop may be misleading. It is usually made in thinner layers and while I don’t know this for sure … the ILD is probably also measured in thinner layers which would give it a rating which is firmer than the ILD rating would indicate. From feedback from this type of latex and in talking with several manufacturers about it … the feel is not comparable to Talalay in the same ILD (typically firmer) or to more “typical” Dunlop which usually starts in the ILD range of mid 20’s.

The Spring Air Harbor Island would be much more representative of a typical Talalay latex mattress. I don’t know the exact ILD of the latex (they are emailing me back with that) but it would be safe to assume that the top 3" would be relatively soft (probably around 19 - 24) and the 6" core would be in the 30’s or so.

Interestingly enough … the people who describe what they feel as “pushback” typically feel it more with talalay than with Dunlop. This is because most talalay latex that is used in the comfort layers will allow a person to sink in deeper and this deeper cradle can result in a different pressure distribution along the length of the body than they are used to and has a different “feel” than they are used to when they move. Because Dunlop tends to be firmer and doesn’t sink in as deeply as Talalay … many people will experience less pushback with Dunlop. Other alternatives worth trying are lower ILD Talalay (more like “typical” polyfoam comfort layers) or firmer Talalay layers that don’t let you sink in as deeply. Firmer support cores in either Talalay or Dunlop may also create less of this feeling. The feeling of “pushback” in other words can come from the “middle range” of latex … especially talalay. If none of this eliminates the feeling … then it is time to look at alternatives with latex in only the comfort layer, only in the support core, or no latex at all.

Some of the manufacturers around you will give you a chance to test various combinations which will confirm whether the feeling is inherent to the material itself or just a particular layering, ILD, or type of layex.


Thanks again Phoenix. Quick visit back to check the Spring Air Nature’s Rest 11" and it felt better this time – principally because my DW liked it. (Pushback, what’s pushback? Never heard of it…) :stuck_out_tongue: Admittedly, it may not be a great value compared with local or factory direct sources like Gardner Mattress or My Green Mattress, but a known quantity (or quality) is hard to argue against. Happy to hear any thoughts you might have – or if you heard back from Spring Air on more detailed specs/ILDs on this mattress.


Hi SantaFay,

Like all good DH’s … you seem to be clear who is always right when it comes to mattresses (the other one)! When we were looking at mattresses … it was especially important that I always remembered who the mattress was really for and who would be doing any compromising if there was ever any differences in preference .

Spring Air (and Nature’s Rest) is a rather strange brand since their bankruptcy and they have both a more or less standardized line and also a wide range of manufacturers who are licensed to attach the name to the mattresses they make. The value can be anything from very good to not as good. Like you said … I also think a known quantity (and quality) is very valuable especially when you consider that the difference in price spread out over the useful life of a good quality mattress is not as significant as it may otherwise seem with the initial price. This is why I would gladly pay a little more for a local mattress that I knew was “perfect” over one that I hadn’t tried. Before I pulled the trigger though, I would probably tend to call some other promising options and give them the specs of what I was considering and see if they made something similar and their price so I could see if any difference in price was worth more time and effort in continuing the “hunt” but any difference would have to be significant enough to me to be worth it.

They told me that they would need to call the manufacturer with the specs on the Spring Air and would likely email me back sometime on Monday. I’ll post here when I receive them.