Patent leather is leather that has been treated with a black lacquer to give it a glassy shiny gloss. It has historically been customary for men to wear patent leather shoes to black tie and white tie events, and it is no surprise that they are very often worn at high level Ballroom competitions, and also often in Latin. The upside to patent leather is that you look way cooler than everyone else with their regular black leather shoes. The downside to patent leather is that it scuffs very easily, after which you look way less cool than everyone else with their regular black leather shoes. Vaseline and other lubricants can be applied to the shoes, which both boost the shine and also reduce the risk of scuffing.