Your fundamental observation is correct up to a point...although the example is entirely off base--nothing practical or pragmatic about glue and splits.
That said, what makes a Traditional, bespoke shoe so attractive is that it is the culmination of 10,000 years of evolution/development deliberately and mindfully aimed at combining the most practical, durable, sound, pragmatic, etc. techniques, to create something that is both functional and beautiful. But make no mistake the "beauty" part of it is and must be subordinate to the practicality.
I'm sure there will be those who would rush to disagree...Style vs. Substance...but shoemaking as a Trade has had this intent all along. It is part the 'ethos" of shoemaking, if you will.
And again, in that context, I must stress I'm not against ornamentation or styling devices(I actually like, from a purely aesthetic POV, the narrow waist) ...as long as they do not detract from the life or function of the shoe. Which, in this circumstance, I suspect (or at least question) it does.
I can't argue with you my friend. In purely practical terms, you are surely right that this puts more strain on the upper. And i'm not advocating shit shoes, of course. I'd just say that sometimes we blur the line for the sake of style - in either direction. This might be i-Gent heresy, but cordovan loafers make no sense at all, nor covering it up with galoshes: isn't the point of cordovan that it's waterproof and virtually indestructible? But in our style-fest here, heaven forbid that a drop of water might mark one's whiskey shell tassles! I think I'd only buy cordovan as a heavy boot or country derby, and I'd get it wet and dirty.
Anyway, my point is that you're right about the history and evolution of artisan technology that is beautiful in itself, and also that by seeking quality, we are affirming the practicality and original meaning of this kind of workmanship. But I'm just saying we're also entitled to play with the form as art sometimes - even if that does mean a less supportive fiddleback waist or, conversely, a bullet-proof ballet shoe. :)