tall guy latex mattresses ild layers?

So I don’t have a car (personal choice, not economic), the upshot of this though is I don’t have too much freedom to browse in mattress stores to figure out which latex configuration works best for me, that is, it’s a real pain for me to get to many of the mattress stores since they’re spread throughout the suburbs. As such I’m looking for a bit of a starting point to make my visits count more (if and when they happen). I guess I’m wondering what latex mattress set-ups people with body types similar to my own have found comfortable, more specifically: what kind of latex? how many layers? what were the ilds of the different layers, zoning? Here’s my stats: 6’4"ish, 180-185, waist 34 inches or so, shoulders 47-49 inches, side sleeper.
Much appreciated, Greg

Hi Greg,

Sleeping position, weight distribution, and personal sensitivities and preferences all play a big role in terms of what mattress and types of construction and layering is “best” for each individual but since you are fairly similar to me (in terms of height and weight at least since I am 6’ 5 1/2", 195 lbs, similar waist, and similar shoulder measurements) … I will use myself as an example. I am primarily a side sleeper although I also spend significant time on my back and my back sleeping time has been increasing over the years.

Side sleepers need a comfort layer that is both thick and soft enough to allow the shoulders to sink in far enough to both relieve pressure and to help create alignment (so the shoulders aren’t sitting on top of the foam). The support layers need to be firm enough to “hold up” the heavier parts. In men especially … the shoulders are much wider than the hips even though they support much less weight when lying down on a mattress so they need to sink in more in spite of having less weight. Typically this means about 3" of “soft” latex (in the range of 19 - 24 ILD) although it could be a little less or more depending on the ILD of the layer underneath it. In addition to this … tall slim people tend to have a more even weight distribution and the different parts of their body tend to sink into a mattress in more even proportion which means that softer support foams can often be chosen. Conversely … tall slim people often have less gaps to fill in so they may choose thinner and/or firmer layers because they may not need or prefer to sink in as deeply to get good pressure relief or they may prefer to sleep more “on” their mattress. People with more even weight proportions and measurements have a little more flexibility in the layering they choose than those whose weight and/or measurements are distributed more unevenly.

I also prefer the feel of Talalay latex over Dunlop latex because it feels (for me) more lively and I like sinking into a mattress more. Of course this is purely preference not necessity. What this translates into for me is that I needed 3" of talalay latex in an ILD of 19 or so in order to get the pressure relief I wanted. The firmness of this layer would depend slightly on what was underneath it and the feeling that comes from the transition between the layers (I am sensitive to a transition between layers that is too “sudden”). Because 3" of softer latex is “on the thick side” for some back sleepers … I decided to go with 22 ILD latex (bearing in mind that ILD’s are not exact) in the comfort layer and then use a softer than normal support layer of 28 ILD in the support core in a compromise for softness for my shoulders and alignment for my back sleeping. Bear in mind too that the first priority for my mattress was my other half but even though we are a very different makeup … our needs and preferences and the materials that provided them were very similar which is why we didn’t need to go with a “split” construction. Like most women … she is relatively wider in the hips than I am and much more “curvy” so materials that were “softer” to me would be “firmer” for her because of our weight differential.

I think though that most people who choose a similar comfort layer though would probably do better with a firmer support layer than I chose in the range of 32 - 36 ILD which would help with alignment more if their weight distribution wasn’t quite as even and they needed to “stop” the heavier pelvic area from sinking in too deeply, especially on the back.

So “averages” would say 3" of soft (19 - 24 depending on your preferences) over medium (low to mid 30’s ILD) over firm which would put you pretty much in an “average” construction (all of this assuming that your sleeping position is primarily side). If you were to choose a 2" comfort layer instead (a better starting point for most primary back sleepers) … then a softer lower layer would be much more important to “help” with the lack of thickness in the comfort layer and could provide similar support but with a different “feel”.

Of course there is much more to this (including the choice or quilting and ticking) and because there are so many variables and there really is no such thing as average when it comes to any particular individual, this is normally only a starting point for testing which is the only way to know for sure. At least it can provide some guidelines though and puts the odds more in your favor.

Zoning can also provide more choices that can change the overall construction of the mattress and the choice of ILD. For example a firmer zone under the pelvic area in the support layers can allow for the use of softer comfort layers to better benefit the shoulders without sacrificing alignment. 2 or 3 zoned constructions (firmer under the pelvic area and softer in the shoulder area) can be very helpful here if it is necessary to provide the best combination of pressure relief and alignment for a particular individual. Because of the progressive firmness nature of latex … zoning is often less necessary than with other materials but even with latex it can be very helpful.

Hope this helps … and feel free to post if I missed anything that is important to you.


Wow! That was exactly the sort of guideline I was hoping for. Thank you for the generous gift of your expertise and time.

So, I made it to a Savvyrest dealer today and tried out several configurations. The mattress configuration I preferred was a dunlop firm (base), dunlop medium (middle), and talalay soft (top). Pretty much what you suggested. I was wondering though, is an equilvalent feel possible if I chose to go with a 6"X3" configuration (as available at mattresses.net) instead of the 3"x3"x3" available from Savvyrest. Or is that comparing apples to oranges? Thanks again for your previous advice. It shed a little light into this dark place.

Hi Greg,

The feel of a 6’ + 3" mattress will be similar but not exactly the same. The bottom 3" has the least effect on how a mattress feels but it will have a small effect on the support qualities of the mattress. Of course Savvy Rest doesn’t publish the exact ILD of their layering but because they use the natural Talalay from Latex International, it’s likely that it’s about 22 ILD (N2) on top. Their Dunlop is also from a different supplier (both are very good quality) and because Dunlop is more variable between different suppliers and also is less consistent in its “exactness” in terms of ILD, there may also be a difference there as well but it would be similar yes. Of course the options to make adjustments would be less with a 6" + 3" layering than it would with a 3x3" layering. In essence a 3" + 3" support core with firm under medium would be a little firmer with deeper compression and would have a higher compression modulus (how quickly a layer gets firmer with increasing compression). A thinner comfort layer (as in the 2" standard layering at mattresses.net) would make a much bigger difference and would not be the same. So it’s apples to apples … but perhaps different varieties of apples :).


This is right up my alley, good info here. I’m 6’5" and 220 Lbs. And I’m looking for a Latex mattress too, I’m leaning towards the Sleep EZ Natural Organic Latex Mattress 10,000 Select Sleep. I’ll be watching this thread.

Great info for me also. 6’0" 185. Going to order SleepEZ 8" Dunlop Latex Twin XL on sale now.
Opting for 2 " Soft Talalay, 3" Dunlop Medium and 3" Dunlop Firm. Also getting slatted foundation.

Will be mainly used in guest room but I will give it a good try before finalizing new King for master BR.

I am mainly side sleeper but more back time similar to Phoenix above,

Will report back on how it goes.


Hi jjs2328,

As you know you are certainly making a great quality/value choice … and congratulations on your new mattress :slight_smile:

I’m looking forward to your comments and feedback when you receive it!