Latex softening posts

This may stir things up a bit, but there have been four recent posts relating to latex products softening quite a bit in the first month or so of use. Two of us have had problems with Denver Snowmass mattresses, one person with a Costco latex topper, and Sleepy1 with a latex mattress from SleepEz.

My first experience with a foam mattress was over 10 years ago when I bought an expensive Spring Air. I went to the store multiple times on my lunch hour and finally bought it. It had comfort and support and for a year or so it was a great mattress. Then it started to sag in my hip area and I eventually couldn’t sleep on it any more That mattress may have has some latex in it, but was probably mostly poly foam.

So I am wondering why we are seeing changes happening so quickly in these new latex products? Why did that Spring Air, made of inferior foam, take a year to soft enough to notice? Are suppliers selling sub-standard latex now that it is becoming popular? How does this affect decision making in layer firmness? Phoenix suggests buying on the firm side, then softening if necessary with other layers. It sounds like these products will soften on their own…

Discuss! :slight_smile: Lew


I don’t think this “stirs things up” at all because “foam softening” has been a topic of debate for decades … including with latex :slight_smile:

I think it’s important to differentiate between “normal” softening or changes in latex (which are much less than other types of foam) and the other components of a mattress (including the cover and any quilting materials) and any “unusual” softening of latex. I think sometimes that people forget that latex is a foam and no foam or soft material is immune from some degree of softening or change over time.

It can be difficult sometimes though to discern or recognize the difference because subjective factors and other factors (such as other layers or components in a mattress) which can play a role in what some people perceive as foam softening vs a choice that may have been too soft in the first place but which didn’t become obvious until sleeping on the mattress for several weeks or months. Any retailer with experience in the industry will tell you how common this is. Other components softening or impressing can make it easy to believe that there is something wrong with the latex as well (this is particularly common in so called latex mattresses such as those from Stearns & Foster which have layers of lower density polyfoam above the latex). In the vast majority of instances though industry wide … they are in the “normal” range and have more to do with initial comfort choices than anything else.

Of the ones you are mentioning … Sleepy1 is clearly in the “normal” range of the softening and break in of a new mattress and the other components of the mattress such as the quilting and the cover. I also know how easy it is to see “patterns” where none really exist and to include what I would consider to be normal experiences and add them to a list of “unusual” experiences.

With two of them (the Denver Mattress mattresses) it’s unclear what the reason for the softening is. It could well be the firm quilting foam in the top layer that has somehow become much softer (although even this would not be “normal”). It could also be a batch of defective latex.

With the Costco topper we are still waiting for the results of testing for actual impressions and the issue could be the topper or the mattress that it is on (latex will follow any impressions or soft spots of whatever is below it) . Of course it could also be defective latex.

That’s not to say that any of these aren’t valid or could turn out to be issues with the latex … only that we don’t know what their cause may be or how much involves the latex and how much involves other subjective or objective factors. In most cases that you hear about, reports of rapid foam softening are the result of comfort choices not unusual softening of the foam itself … particularly with latex. I would be very hesitant to draw any conclusions based on 4 examples of anything that contradicted decades of experience when the cause isn’t known and when there are hundreds of current examples that are being sold every day that indicate the opposite.

Having said all that … I certainly know of instances where there have been manufacturing defects with latex which have led to more serious issues with durability or even latex that has been folded over and cracked and split in a matter of days. While this is very unusual … it can certainly happen.

In the vast majority of cases though … what most (but not all) people perceive as softening is in the “normal” range and most often a result of a mattress purchase that is softer than what is most suitable for them that they didn’t realize when they bought it. There have been many on the forum for example that have purchased the PLB Beautiful (or worse yet the Beautiful with the very soft PLB topper) that discovered after a few weeks that their hips/pelvis were sinking in too far and started developing back issues that they didn’t have for the first few weeks of use. It’s easy to believe in cases like this that the foam has softened to a larger than usual degree and that foam softening is causing the back issues when in fact it just took a few weeks for the issues that are connected to mattresses that have comfort layers that are too thick and soft for the person to become apparent.

This was a relatively common problem with many of the old Spring Air mattresses … again because people were sleeping on polyfoam rather than latex and didn’t know it. In other cases … people have bought a mattress that has higher quality polyfoam and it has lasted for a decade or two.

Quite frankly I don’t think we are seeing changes happening that quickly. I don’t see any evidence overall to support this outside of a few instances that are exceptions and/or where the cause isn’t known. There are many factors involved in how much people will notice foam softening (or how long it will take to feel the results of an initial comfort choice that was too soft) depending on where in their “tolerable” range they were in terms of pressure relief and alignment when they ae their purchase and on the quality of the foam that is used. Post #2 here talks about the factors that can be involved with durability and how it can be relative to each person. If someone is “on the edge” of a mattress being too soft for good support and alignment, then a small amount of softening can put them over the edge and they can have issues even though for someone else the same mattress could last for many years.

I personally wouldn’t think for a moment that a few examples (4 in this case) of possible softening issues when it isn’t known what the cause may be or even if its abnormal … would indicate anything significant that would contradict over 80 years of experience with latex (60 or so in the case of Talalay). I really don’t see much unusual happening here that hasn’t been reported at any other time over the decades for all the reasons I mentioned even though some of them may indeed be defective latex.

With latex (or any mattress) … I would still choose slightly firmer vs slightly softer if two choices appear to otherwise be equal but this is more because of the risk involved that people will tend to choose a mattress that is too soft for their needs and preferences and it may take weeks or even months for them to realize this than it is because latex will soften or degrade to the degree that softening needs to be “factored in” as a significant part of their choice outside of the normal break in period of any mattress.


Absolutely, we expected a little softening of the bed due to the normal break-in period, especially in the 3" Talalay top layer, which would be the layer most prone to softening anyway. This is a very subtle softening–no impressions and no perceptible difference on different parts of the mattress. And as I said, there is nothing unexpected about it; in fact, In my review thread, I mentioned when we first got it that I was worried we had chosen a mattress “on the edge of too soft” and that when the normal breaking in happened, it might be too soft. Just wanted to make clear that my thread “Fine-tuning our SleepEZ 10000” was in no way a complaint or a problem; merely asking for guidance on how to deal with a situation that we fully expected to happen.

BTW, flipping the top layer seems to have taken care of the problem for now. Hopefully once the talalay has softened up more evenly we’ll be fine. :slight_smile:

I hope you get your problem resolved!

Reference to post #28 here for my experience with softening of another latex mattress. This time it was a good thing, at least for so far.

There were at least two that bought LI toppers that sagged almost imediately

Hi jege41,

Sometimes it can seem easy to see “patterns” on the internet that may not indicate patterns at all.

I have talked with the supplier of these toppers in person (Literie Laurier in Quebec) and they sell hundreds of these toppers themselves and through Costco and they don’t have any unusual softening issues.

In post #1 here it is clearly an issue of the topper following pre-existing dips or soft spots in the mattress.

The pictures in post #17 here as well (which were sent to me and I just added) seem to clearly indicate that the topper issues are related to the mattress underneath it and the bigger concern was that the topper wasn’t listed correctly on the Costco site (which has since been corrected).

None of these are to minimize your own softening issues but the two Costco topper examples you are mentioning are not about the topper softening IMO.