The importance to industry of non-contact bearings is growing rapidly as the demand for high-speed and high-precision manufacturing equipment increases. As a recently developed non-contact technology, near-field acoustic levitation (NFAL) has drawn much attention for the advantages it offers, including no requirement for an external pressurized air supply, its compact structure, and its ability to adapt to its environment. In this paper, the working mechanism of NFAL is introduced in detail and compared to all existing non-contact technologies to demonstrate its versatility and potential for practical applications in industry. The fundamental theory of NFAL, including gas film lubrication theory and acoustic radiation pressure theory is presented. Then, the current state-of-the-art of the design and development of squeeze film air bearings (SFABs) based on NFAL is reviewed. Finally, future trends and obstacles to more widespread use are discussed.