Piezoelectric nanowires are promising building blocks in nanoelectronic, sensing, actuation and nanogenerator systems. In spite of great progress in synthesis methods, quantitative mechanical and electromechanical characterization of these nanostructures is still limited. In this article, the state-of-the art in experimental and computational studies of mechanical and electromechanical properties of piezoelectric nanowires is reviewed with an emphasis on size effects. The review covers existing characterization and analysis methods and summarizes data reported in the literature. It also provides an assessment of research needs and opportunities. Throughout the discussion, the importance of coupling experimental and computational studies is highlighted. This is crucial for obtaining unambiguous size effects of nanowire properties, which truly reflect the effect of scaling rather than a particular synthesis route. We show that such a combined approach is critical to establish synthesis-structure-property relations that will pave the way for optimal usage of piezoelectric nanowires.