Foam wheelchair cushions are popular because no maintenance is required, material is light, and cost is reasonable. Foams are temperature sensitive, so cushions should not be left in areas of extreme cold. New foams with breathable properties are now being used to allow for custom-contoured cushions without the heat buildup. Use of material technologies from outside industries is now providing the seating industry with alternatives, although cost may be a significant factor.
Foam cushions have been developed over the years because foam can be easily carved and molded to create contours. With the development of viscoelastic foams, immersion of bony prominences is attainable to increase surface area. Layered foams of different densities are essential for the cushion to maintain its shape.