The environmental application and risk assessment of manufactured nanoparticles (MNPs) in soil greatly depend on our understanding of the interactions between MNPs and soil components. Because of the complexity of the soil system and the very early stage of MNP research in soil, our understanding of MNP behaviour in this system is very limited. This review summarizes the progress of research on MNPs and their implications for soils. Manufactured nanoparticles are applied deliberately for soil remediation and are also released unintentionally through various other pathways to soil. Their colloidal behaviour in the soil system is discussed by analysing the effect of dissolved organic matter, light irradiation, water chemistry conditions and biological processes. The methods currently used for modelling MNP leaching and transport are summarized and several requirements for model improvement are proposed. The current topics regarding the environmental risks of MNPs (such as identifying the toxicity of MNPs and their dissolved ions, evidence that MNPs may be taken up by soil organisms or the risks of other pollutants as affected by the presence of MNPs) are described. Future research directions are discussed and proposed.