I've come across 3 brands: Beppy, Gynotex (both from Netherlands) & Joy Division (from Germany). I've used sea sponge tampons & LOVE them. They are more comfortable than cups for me, especially the first day, but they are challenging to manage away from home on the first few days. They also have more maintenance than cups & I have to be diligent about washing well & fully drying. I don't regularly sanitize or sterilize my cups, but with the sponges I feel the need to keep them super clean.
The soft sponge tampons are not easily available in the US (probably not FDA approved & super high shipping costs from Europe) and they seem to be rather expensive at around $2 per sponge, which is used just like a tampon (for up to 8 hours safely) and then thrown away as they are not intended to be washed out and reused. It seems that they are marketed as a 'special use' tampon for swimming & sauna since they have no string, and particularly as a clean period sex tool. They come in a pack of 4, unlike fiber tampons standard box of 20ish, so it doesn't seem like they are intended to get you through a whole cycle.
I know most of the world has a different relationship with tampons than the US; I've heard that applicator tampons can be hard to find in Europe (makes sense, it's double the trash!) yet they are the standard in the US. Also, I've gotten the impression that stateside it's common for people to wear tampons exclusively throughout their period, but it seems that many Europeans wear pads at night to take a break from the 'pons; I remember my mother recommending pads at night to reduce TSS risk.
So, I'm wondering if anyone has experience using soft tampons; Did you like it? Was it worth the cost? Anything you didn't like? Do you know of some way to get some that won't cost $5+ per sponge?