Today, surface-wave analysis is widely adopted for building near-surface S-wave velocity models. The surface-wave method is under continuous and rapid evolution, also thanks to the lively scientific debate among different disciplines, and interest in the technique has increased significantly during the last decade. A comprehensive review of the literature in the main scientific journals provides historical perspective, methodological issues, applications, and most-promising recent approaches. Higher modes in the inversion and retrieval of lateral variations are dealt with in great detail, and the current scientific debate on these topics is reported. A best-practices guideline is also outlined.