Rolling adhesion on vascular surfaces is the first step in recruiting circulating leukocytes, hematopoietic progenitors, or platelets to specific organs or to sites of infection or injury. Rolling requires the rapid yet balanced formation and dissociation of adhesive bonds in the challenging environment of blood flow. This review explores how structurally distinct adhesion receptors interact through mechanically regulated kinetics with their ligands to meet these challenges. Remarkably, increasing force applied to adhesive bonds first prolongs their lifetimes (catch bonds) and then shortens their lifetimes (slip bonds). Catch bonds mediate the counterintuitive phenomenon of flow-enhanced rolling adhesion. Force-regulated disruptions of receptor interdomain or intradomain interactions remote from the ligand-binding surface generate catch bonds. Adhesion receptor dimerization, clustering in membrane domains, and interactions with the cytoskeleton modulate the forces applied to bonds. Both inside-out and outside-in cell signals regulate these processes.