These are not only functional... but they really finish off the looks of that area of the bike.
I tend to ride pretty aggressively and was concerned about wearing out the plastic drag bar on the bottom so I had every intention of removing these and putting the old stock pegs on whenever I knew I'd be hitting the twisties hard.
However, on the GL1800 forums I met a member who makes some awesome steel floorboard savers that are direct bolt-ons. Go to Traxxion's website to find them. Those will throw some nice sparks in the twisties and put on quite a show while not digging into the nice chrome finish of these boards.