This Feature Article aims to highlight our recent efforts to develop more robust gecko-inspired dry adhesives and their applications. Due to recent progress in micro- and nanofabrication techniques, it is possible to fabricate highly sophisticated multiscale, hierarchical structures using various polymer materials. In addition, the adhesion strength of synthetic dry adhesives has been shown to be similar to or exceed that of real gecko foot-hair by several times. Therefore, it is timely and appropriate to drive the research of gecko-inspired dry adhesives into a new epoch by investigating more robust dry adhesive structures, efficient detachment mechanisms, and new applications. In this Feature Article, we present a series of our recent achievements to overcome some of the limitations of gecko-like hair structures such as rough surface adaptation, durability, and controlled geometry, with particular emphasis on materials issues and detachment mechanism. For potential applications, a clean transportation device and a biomedical skin patch are briefly described to expand the application realm from the well-known wall climbing robot.