Adhesion and migration are integrated cell functions that build, maintain and remodel the multicellular organism. In migrating cells, integrins are the main transmembrane receptors that provide dynamic interactions between extracellular ligands and actin cytoskeleton and signalling machineries. In parallel to integrins, other adhesion systems mediate adhesion and cytoskeletal coupling to the extracellular matrix (ECM). These include multifunctional cell surface receptors (syndecans and CD44) and discoidin domain receptors, which together coordinate ligand binding with direct or indirect cytoskeletal coupling and intracellular signalling. We review the way that the different adhesion systems for ECM components impact cell migration in two- and three-dimensional migration models. We further discuss the hierarchy of these concurrent adhesion systems, their specific tasks in cell migration and their contribution to migration in three-dimensional multi-ligand tissue environments.