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If you’ve listened to a podcast or watched a YouTube video lately, there’s a good chance you’ve been bombarded with an ad for some buzzy online mattress brand. It’s gotten to a point where the market is so saturated with mattress options that one company has turned to the surrealist genius of Tim & Eric to hawk its wares.
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So to see a new mattress brand enter the space was quite the surprise. Earthfoam launched in November 2022 year with just three products – a mattress ($699 - $1,499), a mattress topper ($299 - $399), and a pillow ($99) – and soothing, pleasant branding. The message is relatively clear: simplicity might help sell mattresses.
But, the twist is that although Earthfoam itself is a new brand, the product is not. Earthfoam is the evolution of a company called Sleep on Latex. Founded by industry veteran Karl Shevick, Sleep on Latex did one thing and did it well: make and sell a simple, comfortable, affordable natural latex mattress. After years of working in textiles and even more years of selling mattresses, Shevick learned that the mattress industry has been doing a disservice to customers by making the process oblique. And so he decided to launch Earthfoam.
Earthfoam aims for transparency. The company has fully integrated every aspect of making mattresses from the sheep farms in New Zealand to the processing factory in Sri Lanka to the final manufacturing plant just outside Chicago. As such, Earthfoam is able to offer customers a sustainably made, quality-controlled mattress at a more affordable price.
As someone who never gave that much thought to his mattress, I decided to give Earthfoam a test drive to see if it could improve the quality of my sleep. Plus, I sat down with founder Karl Shevick to learn more about the company and why folks should care about who makes their mattresses.
Earthfoam: From Tree and Sheep to Shop and Sleep
Karl Shevick started his professional career in the textile industry before launching Sleep on Latex, a DTC mattress brand, in 2013. Sleep on Latex quickly grew into one of the leading natural latex mattress companies, and what started as a solitary endeavor became an industry-leading production.
Shevick developed relationships with sheep farms in New Zealand and natural latex manufacturers in Sri Lanka to help him create a high quality product. He traveled extensively to build these partnerships and ensure he could sell a great mattress at fair prices. Shevick started Sleep on Latex by himself, but the brand developed rapidly and within a couple of years, he had enlisted his brother and moved into a warehouse 10 times the size of his original space.
And in the mattress industry, this practice is pretty rare.
“I really have a strong belief that people want to know where the products they're buying are coming from,” Shevick says. “And so the thing is with a lot of direct to consumer brands in the mattress space, if you really look at it, a lot of them are being supplied by the same companies and a lot of online mattress companies aren’t real manufacturers.”
Now, Shevick is adding to his arsenal with the launch of Earthfoam. Like his first company, Earthfoam produces a line of natural latex mattresses as well as mattress toppers and pillows. Where the two brands differ is in their storytelling. Sleep on Latex is pretty straightforward, and there’s a good chance you really only come across the brand if you’re specifically looking for a latex mattress. In fact, where many other mattress brands invested heavily in marketing, Shevick preferred to prioritize the product and find consumers who were interested in what he was offering. Earthfoam, on the other hand, can introduce new customers to the world of natural latex mattresses.
The branding is soft and playful with warm colors and an ethereal airiness. Each mattress is organic, sustainable, and made from three ingredients: natural foam rubber, wool, and cotton. There are no complicated, trademarked terms or synthetic materials. Just a quality, comfortable mattress.
“With our product, I think it's something that you really can dig into,” Shevick explains. “That's part of what we want to express to consumers with Earthfoam is that, you know, you can come back and see our factory where we're making the mattress. You can go back to the factory where we're making the foam. You can go back to the factory where they're collecting the latex, you can go back to the farms. It's not always possible to do that with a lot of other mattress companies because it's like all the roads will kind of lead to the same place.”
For a Better Sleep, Choose a Mattress with More Support
Shevick also thinks it’s important that folks know what their mattresses are made from and why natural latex might be better. “One is that it's more environmentally friendly,” he explains. “So rather than buying a product that's essentially made out of petroleum, which is what most mattresses are, latex or natural rubber comes from rubber trees.”
Most mattress companies sell you on plushness. The softer, the better. That sensation of sinking down after a long day seems so alluring. I never considered switching to a firmer mattress. But, according to Shevick, we should.
“[Natural latex] is extremely comfortable,” Shevick says. “It cradles your body. I describe it to people as when you lay on it, you don't really feel it. It doesn't feel as impressive as memory foam. You just don't really feel anything. And that's kind of what you want from a mattress – you don't wanna feel it. It's also very springy, so as you move around, it adjusts to your body instantly.”
Earthfoam only sells its mattresses in two styles: Medium and Firm. And the reasoning is pretty simple. A firmer mattress means you’ll have more support when you sleep, which, ultimately is a good thing.
That’s not to say that Earthfoam mattresses are rock hard. Instead, rather than slowly sinking into foam, you have a springy while still soft sleeping experience. There’s less give and a lot more support.
Plus, you’ll have a mattress that lasts much longer with far fewer indentations or sinking spots.
Trying Out the Earthfoam Natural Latex Mattress
I’ve been sleeping on a queen-sized Earthfoam mattress for a few weeks now and I’ve been very impressed. As I mentioned earlier I had always slept on soft, plush mattresses so the shift to a much firmer option had me skeptical (I went with the medium firmness level).
But I definitely appreciate the added level of support. I’m sleeping through the night much more regularly than I had been and genuinely feel more well-rested. If you were looking for a slightly softer option, you could always add on Earthfoam’s mattress topper but I find that the medium level of firmness is a really great option.
My only gripe with Earthfoam would be the unpacking process. Because these mattresses are made from natural rubber, they are much heavier than synthetic mattresses. So if you’re going to be lugging it up stairs, I’d highly recommend having at least one person to help you. The mattress ships rolled up and compressed in a slim box but once you unwrap it, it springs open while it unfolds. My wife and I made the mistake of doing this in another room – once it was fully open, it took quite a bit of effort to move it to our bedroom.
Otherwise I have thoroughly enjoyed my Earthfoam mattress and I don’t think I’d ever go back to a plush, sinking mattress.