Silicon nanotubes, as a novel kind of silicon nanomaterials, exhibit good application prospect in lithium ion battery, field effect transistors, magnetic nanodevices, hydrogen storage, nanoscale electron and field emitting devices. This article reviews the recent progress and patents in silicon nanotubes. The progress and corresponding patents for the synthesis of silicon nanotubes using different templates, hydrothermal method, electrochemical deposition, plasma method and laser ablation method are demonstrated. The experimental application and patents of silicon nanotubes as field effect transistors and lithium ion battery are discussed. The application potential of silicon nanotubes in magnetic devices, hydrogen storage, nanoscale electron and field-emitting devices is demonstrated. Finally, the future development of silicon nanotubes for the synthesis and practice application is also discussed.