Are these pieces functional or for looks : HomeImprovement

I wanted to open up the steps a bit more by removing these down planks under the steps. My wife swears they are part pf the structural integrity of the steps. I think they are just there for looks though since they aren’t connected on the sides. Just screwed into the bottom. The top two still have them. The rest are already removed.

What do you think? photo1 photo2 photo 3

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