Antimonide semiconductors are suitable for low-power electronics and long-wavelength optoelectronic applications. In recent years research on antimonide nanowires has become a rapidly growing field, and nano-materials have promising applications in fundamental physics research, for tunnel field-effect transistors, and long-wavelength detectors. In this review, we give an overview of the field of antimonide nanowires, beginning with a description of the synthesis of these nano-materials. Here we summarize numerous reports on antimonide nanowire growth, with the aim to give an overall picture of the distinctive properties of antimonide nanowire synthesis. Secondly, we review the data on the physical properties and emerging applications for antimonide nanowires, focusing on applications in electronics and optics. © 2013 IOP Publishing Ltd.