The exciting development of advanced nanostructured materials has driven the rapid growth of research in the field of electrochemical energy storage (EES) systems which are critical to a variety of applications ranging from portable consumer electronics, hybrid electric vehicles, to large industrial scale power and energy management. Owing to their capability to deliver high power performance and extremely long cycle life, electrochemical capacitors (ECs), one of the key EES systems, have attracted increasing attention in the recent years since they can complement or even replace batteries in the energy storage field, especially when high power delivery or uptake is needed. This review article describes the most recent progress in the development of nanostructured electrode materials for EC technology, with a particular focus on hybrid nanostructured materials that combine carbon based materials with pseudocapacitive metal oxides or conducting polymers for achieving high-performance ECs. This review starts with an overview of EES technologies and the comparison between various EES systems, followed by a brief description of energy storage mechanisms for different types of EC materials. This review emphasizes the exciting development of both hybrid nanomaterials and novel support structures for effective electrochemical utilization and high mass loading of active electrode materials, both of which have brought the energy density of ECs closer to that of batteries while still maintaining their characteristic high power density. Last, future research directions and the remaining challenges toward the rational design and synthesis of hybrid nanostructured electrode materials for next-generation ECs are discussed. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.