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What Is Talalay Latex?

What Is Talalay Latex?

by

Lindsey S.
 | 
Dec 20, 2023

For anyone who’s slept on an innerspring or polyurethane mattress their whole life, branching out and choosing a latex mattress can feel daunting. Perhaps you’ve never felt latex foam and don’t know what to expect. Or, maybe you can’t decide between the various types of latex out there. To help narrow your search for the perfect bed, we’ve compiled a comprehensive guide to a specific form of latex mattress foam: Talalay latex.


You’ll learn what makes this material eco-friendly, how it’s made, and what sets it latex apart from Dunlop and synthetic latex alternatives. Now get cozy—before we get into the specifics of Talalay latex, we have to answer a few questions about latex at large.

What Is Latex?

Latex, an emulsion polymer, is a milky white fluid produced by cells in various plant species. However, the vast majority of latex used for manufacturing comes from one source: Hevea brasiliensis, commonly known as the rubber tree. Farmers tap latex from incisions in the rubber trees, then send it off for commercial processing. 

Natural latex being harvested from rubber trees

The material’s natural durability and elasticity make it highly versatile—latex is everywhere! Whether it’s the tires on your car or the soles of your shoes, you likely use a latex-based product every day. Latex foam is the coziest application of this malleable material for mattresses and sleep accessories. Click here to learn more about the benefits and advantages of latex mattresses.

Latex Foam

How does latex go from a sap-like serum to a cushioning foam? The exact process varies depending on the type of latex in production. Generally speaking, manufacturers mix the liquid latex with any additives, froth it, and pour it into a mold to bake and cure.

Types of Latex: Natural

When brands choose natural latex for a mattress, mattress topper, or pillow, they describe the type of latex used by its manufacturing process. The two varieties of natural latex foam are Talalay latex and Dunlop latex.

What Is Talalay Latex?

Talalay latex is a type of natural latex foam made with the following process:

  • 1)

    The liquid latex is mechanically whipped until it has a frothy texture

  • 2)

    The froth is poured to partially fill the mold

  • 3)

    The mold is vacuum sealed, and the frothy liquid expands

  • 4)

    Its flash frozen

  • 5)

    The mold is baked, which sets and solidifies the foam

  • 6)

    The foam is removed from the foam, extensively washed, and dried

What Is Dunlop Latex?

Dunlop is another type of natural latex foam. Here’s how it’s made:

  • 1)

    The liquid latex is mechanically whipped until it has a frothy texture

  • 2)

    The froth is poured into a mold, filled all the way

  • 3)

    The mold is baked in a vulcanization oven

  • 4)

    The foam is removed from the mold and washed

  • 5)

    The foam is baked a second time, removing moisture

Types of Latex: Synthetic and Blended

Nolah exclusively uses natural latex for our Nolah Natural mattress. However, you'll likely come across options for other brands that use synthetic or blended latex.

Synthetic Latex

Synthetic latex is an artificial alternative to latex that imitates its natural properties. Synthetic latex mattresses typically use Styrene Butadiene rubber made with Styrene and Butadiene petrochemicals. While not as durable or breathable as natural latex foam, synthetic latex foam costs less.

Blended Latex

Blended latex combines synthetic and natural latex at the liquid stage of the foam's production. The ratio of synthetic to natural latex varies depending on the manufacturer and application, and the foam's properties fall somewhere in between.

A Closer Look at Talalay Latex

Now that we’ve covered the basics of latex taxonomy, we can zero in on the focus of this article: natural Talalay latex. Find out why Nolah chose Talalay for our latex hybrid mattress and how it stacks up against alternative foam options.

What Does Talalay Latex Feel Like?

Talalay latex foam has a responsive, buoyant, and balanced feel.


This natural foam quickly responds to your movements; it gently contours to your curves and instantly bounces back to its original form when you remove pressure. This characteristic makes Talalay latex a good fit for those who move around a lot in their sleep, particularly side sleepers who tend to adjust their shoulders frequently.

Feel: Talalay Latex vs. Memory Foam

Talalay latex reacts far faster than memory foam, a viscoelastic material known for its slow response and temperature sensitivity. The two foams also differ in the depth of their contouring. People often describe memory foam as cushioning you in the mattress, whereas Talalay latex makes you feel like floating on top of the mattress.

Feel: Talalay vs. Dunlop Latex

While Talalay and Dunlop latex foam begin with the same liquid latex, their manufacturing processes result in slightly different feels. Talalay latex has a more homogenous feel, whereas Dunlop latex is bottom-heavy. Also, Talalay latex isn't as dense as Dunlop, offering more cushioning comfort.

Talalay Latex Mattress Benefits

Next, we break down the benefits of Talalay latex for mattress applications:

1. Eco-Friendly and Sustainable

Talalay latex foam starts as natural liquid latex, sustainably sourced from rubber trees. Proper latex tapping doesn’t harm the trees; farmers can collect latex from a single tree for about 28 years. Natural Talalay latex is also long-lasting and biodegradable.

2. Hypoallergenic

Natural latex is inherently hypoallergenic and resists mold, mildew, and dust mites, making latex and latex hybrid mattresses ideal for sensitive sleepers.

3. Cooling

All natural latex foam has a breathable structure, but Talalay foam's expansion and setting steps make it even more breathable than Dunlop. Without harsh or heat-trapping chemicals like those used for memory foam, natural latex is also 100 percent temperature neutral.

4. Resilient

Talalay latex isn’t quite as durable as Dunlop latex because of its lower density, but it’s still exceptionally strong and long outlasts synthetic alternatives and memory foam. A high-quality mattress made with Talalay latex can last 15-plus years.

5. Responsive

Latex is known for its unique responsive feel, which differs significantly from memory foam. It gently contours and bounces back instantly to its original shape when you remove pressure by shifting positions. This quality makes latex a favorite for restless sleepers.

6. Pressure Relieving

Talalay latex excels at pressure relief. The buoyant foam absorbs tension and disperses it across the mattress, lowering peak pressure around sensitive joints.

7. Consistent Feel

As previously mentioned, Talalay latex has a more consistent feel than Dunlop. Dunlop’s manufacturing process makes the foam bottom-heavy, whereas Talalay latex has the same structure throughout.

Talalay Latex Pros and Cons

Pros of Talalay Latex

  • Natural and sustainable

  • Hypoallergenic

  • Sleeps cool

  • Ultra-durable and resilient

  • Responsive bounce

  • Relieves pressure

  • Consistent feel

Cons of Talalay Latex

  • Costs more to produce than Dunlop latex because the process is more intensive

  • Motion isolation is good, but not as good as memory foam

How to Choose a Talalay Latex Mattress

If Talalay latex sounds like your perfect mattress material, it’s time to research and compare specific models! Here are a few tips for finding the best latex foam mattress for your needs:

Decide on Latex or a Latex Hybrid

While all-foam latex mattresses are a great choice for some sleepers, latex hybrid mattresses are more supportive and versatile. These advanced models combine contouring latex comfort layers with coil cores, adding depth, structure, and strength around the edges.


If you prefer the feel of an all-foam mattress, choose a model with advanced multi-layer construction. Look for denser latex layers (even Dunlop latex) at the core for optimal support.

Find Your Firmness Level

Talalay latex can be engineered in a wide range of firmness levels, making it suitable for all sleep positions and body types with multi-layer or hybrid construction. Check out our Firmness Level Guide to learn about latex ILD (impression load deflection) and for help identifying your ideal balance between cushioning and support.

Compare Shipping, Sleep Trial, and Warranty Policies

Regardless of the mattress type you choose, shop with confidence! Nolah offers FREE shipping, a 120-night sleep trial, and a lifetime warranty with every mattress.

The Best Talalay Latex Mattress

By Nolah

Meet the Nolah Natural, our latex hybrid bed made with Talalay latex!


This premium eco-friendly mattress features an organic cotton cover, temperature-regulating and naturally fire-resistant organic wool, two layers of Talalay latex, and our HDMax™ Tri-Zone™ coil system with targeted support.

Nolah Natural mattress on an upholstered base

Our Talalay Latex Mattress Reviews

You’ll love the responsive feel of this pressure-relieving mattress made with nature’s finest sleep materials. But don’t just take our word for it! Here’s what trusted mattress reviewers have to say about the Nolah Natural: 

Sleepopolis: Best Overall Latex Mattress

Best Latex Mattress (2023)

“If you’re a hot sleeper, then I think you’ll enjoy the cooling factors in this mattress. The Talalay latex and coil system work together to promote airflow, maximize breathability, and prevent body heat from building up.”

Sleep Foundation: Best Temperature-Regulating Mattress

Best Organic and Natural Mattresses of 2023: Expert-Tested Green Picks

“When it comes to latex hybrids, the Nolah Natural 11 is a top choice for me. I appreciate its responsive surface, breathability, and overall support. Thanks to its mid-level feel, I think it would be a great choice for anyone regardless of their weight or sleeping position.”

Good Housekeeping

Good Housekeeping’s article 10 Best Latex Mattresses, According to Expert Testing included the Nolah Natural as the Best Latex Mattress for Back Pain.

NapLab

NapLab is known for its rigorous testing and data-based reviews. It scored the Nolah Nurture at 9.67/10 overall. NapLab’s review mentioned the Natural’s “extremely fast response time,” lower-than-average motion transfer, and perfect score for cooling.

Sleep Well with Talalay Latex

With inherent cooling, contouring, and exceptional pressure relief, Talalay latex is a huge win for shoppers who want an eco-friendly mattress without compromising comfort. While natural latex mattresses cost more than synthetic alternatives, they last for the long haul. A latex mattress is a long-term investment in your sleep comfort and the environment. So, sleep well, and enjoy the advantages of Talalay latex for the years to come!

Frequently Asked Questions

About Talalay Latex

Disclaimer: Nolah does not provide medical advice. All resources on the Nolah blog, including this article, are informational only and do not replace professional medical counsel. Talk to your doctor about any health, mental health, or sleep-related issues.

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