Crystal structures of the lectin and epidermal growth factor (EGF)-like domains of P-selectin show 'bent' and 'extended' conformations. An extended conformation would be 'favored' by forces exerted on a selectin bound at one end to a ligand and at the other end to a cell experiencing hydrodynamic drag forces. To determine whether the extended conformation has higher affinity for ligand, we introduced an N-glycosylation site to 'wedge open' the interface between the lectin and EGF-like domains of P-selectin. This alteration increased the affinity of P-selectin for its ligand P-selectin glycoprotein 1 (PSGL-1) and thereby the strength of P-selectin-mediated rolling adhesion. Similarly, an asparagine-to-glycine substitution in the lectin-EGF-like domain interface of L-selectin enhanced rolling adhesion under shear flow. Our results demonstrate that force, by 'favoring' an extended selectin conformation, can strengthen selectin-ligand bonds.