A dispersion of particles will exert a retarding force or pressure on the moving grain boundaries, which is commonly known as Zener pinning. Despite a vast number of improvements since then, there is still no versatile theory that can describe the phenomenon accurately in complex industrial applications. The emergence of numerical simulation techniques on this topic in recent years makes it possible to account for the full multi-scale non-symmetrical nature of the phenomenon. In this article, the original Zener pinning theory and important further improvements are reviewed and its industrial application is discussed.