There has been tremendous interest in using nanomaterials for advanced Li-ion battery electrodes, particularly to increase the energy density by using high specific capacity materials. Recently, it was demonstrated that one dimensional (1D) Si/Sn nanowires (NWs) and nanotubes (NTs) have great potential to achieve high energy density as well as long cycle life for the next generation of advanced energy storage applications. In this feature article, we review recent progress on Si-based NWs and NTs as high capacity anode materials. Fundamental understanding and future challenges on one dimensional nanostructured anode are also discussed. © 2010 The Royal Society of Chemistry.