Over the last 30 years, the SHS method has been used to produce a range of very active catalysts with a range of compositions (borides, carbides, nitrides, oxides, intermetallides, metals on carriers) for various chemical processes. Physico-chemical properties of each composition were regulated by control of the SHS process parameters. Such SHS catalysts have been examined over a range of compositions and reaction temperatures and the processing conditions were optimised for each particular process, which included: oxidation of CO, H2, soot, hydrocarbons, organic acids, aldehides, alcoholes, deep methane oxidation, dehydrogenation, pyrolysis of diesel, naphta and petrol, oxidative dehydrodimerization of methane, hydrogenation, isomerization, cracking, production of synthesis gas, synthesis ammonia and other processes. The activity of many of the materials developed is substantially better than many of commercial catalyst systems and SHS catalysts used in industry. We herein present a review of some of the most important SHS oxide catalytic systems produced worldwide with particular emphasis on the optimization of properties via control of SHS processing and discuss important industrial and environmental applications.