The Cattaneo–Mindlin concept of interfacial slip in tangentially loaded compliant bodies is revisited and its basic simplifying assumptions are critically examined. It is shown that these assumptions, which, in the absence of modern numerical techniques, were essential in 1949 to enable an elegant quantitative solution of the basic problem of presliding between contacting bodies, may be nonphysical. An alternative approach to the same problem that is based on treating sliding inception as a failure mode involving material plastic yield is discussed. This alternative approach was suggested even before 1949 but for the same lack of modern numerical techniques could only be promoted qualitatively. Some recent theoretical models, which are based on this earlier alternative approach, and in which the simplifying assumptions of the Cattaneo–Mindlin concept were completely relaxed, are described along with their experimental verification. It is shown that the presliding problem between contacting bodies can be accurately solved by these models using realistic physical assumptions and failure criterion.