John, as a cross country skier I can tell you that the weight you lose removing the wrist straps is insignificant.
But... the use you will get WITH the wrist straps is quite significant.
Wrist straps (used properly as shown below) will:
1. save your knees on downhills
2. utilize your arms and upper body to help you ascend hills & assist your legs/knees
3. stabilize you better in stream crossings
4. keep your forearm muscles from getting tired due to gripping the pole handles
WEARING POLE STRAPS:
1st-> Put your hand UP through the "upside down V (^) of the pole straps
2nd-> Your palm must face the pole handle and the strap needs to be high around the BACK of your wrist,just below your hand.
3rd-> your hand grasps the pole handle AND the pole straps where they come out of the handle, thumb wraps one direction, fingers the other direction, the ^ of the straps between them and the pole handles.
4th-> Adjust the straps so your hand falls comfortably on the pole handle with no loose strap hanging below your wrist.
5th-> FINALLY, if all has been done properly the ^ of the strap should be between your thumb and forefinger.
USING POLE STRAPS:
To use the straps grip the pole handle LOOSELY and put pressure on the straps as you push off on them. Use them this way when descending as well. Generally only your thumb and forefinger will always stay on the pole handle.
All this instruction likely seems silly to those who have never properly used pole straps. They are there to PUSH on, not just to keep the poles on your wrists, as novices think. As such pole straps ae a vital part of using poles and not to be discarded.
PLEASE, try them this way for a few hikes before you discard them.