dnd 5e – Are a Redcap’s boots actually its feet?


The Redcap described in Volo’s Guide to Monsters is a chaotic evil fey that looks like a demonic garden gnome. They have a strange property – they burst out of the ground wearing heavy iron boots. They are described in VGtM thus:

The creature has a pointed leather cap, pants of similar material, heavy iron boots, and a heavy bladed weapon. From the moment it awakens, a redcap desires only murder and carnage, and it sets out to satisfy these cravings.

Redcaps lack subtlety. They live for direct confrontation and the mayhem of mortal combat. Even if a redcap wanted to be stealthy, its iron boots force it to take ponderous, thunderous steps. When a redcap is near to potential prey, though, it can close the distance quickly and get in a vicious swing of its weapon before the target can react.

Because of these boots, the statblock for the Redcap lists this interesting feature:

Iron Boots. While moving, the redcap has disadvantage on Dexterity (Stealth) checks.

Why doesn’t a redcap just…take his boots off? Is there any official source material (Fifth Edition preferred) that explains the lore surrounding a redcap and his boots? Are his boots actually just his feet? Is subtlety just so far removed from his nature that even with his 10 intelligence he doesn’t think that maybe barreling through the forest like a tiny freight train isn’t the only option?