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This paper shows that the turbulent velocity profile for zero-pressure-gradient boundary layers is affected by the wall shear stress and convective inertia. The effect of the wall shear stress is dominant in the so-called overlap region and can be described by a logarithmic law in which the von Karman constant is about 0.4 while the additive constant depends on a Reynolds number. The effect of the convective inertia can be described by the Coles wake law with a constant wake strength about 0.76.A cubic correction term is introduced to satisfy the zero velocity gradient requirement at the boundary layer edge. Combining the logarithmic law, the wake law and the cubic correction produces a modified log–wake law, which is in excellent agreement with experimental profiles. The proposed velocity profile law is independent of Reynolds number in terms of its defect form, while it is Reynolds number dependent in terms of the inner variables. The modified log–wake law can also provide an accurate equation for skin friction in terms of the momentum thickness. Finally, by replacing the logarithmic law with van Driest’s mixing-length model in which the damping factor varies with Reynolds number, the modified log–wake law can be extended to the entire boundary layer flow.