Self-selective electroless plating is a novel method to produce functional one-dimensional (1D) nanomaterials. The technique which is based on conventional electroless plating utilizes the base substrate and surface metal deposition to produce the desired functional nanostructures. Progress and advances in the past 6 years, including the production of Si nanowire arrays and concomitant noble metal dendrites by self-selective electroless plating, possible growth mechanisms, and future challenges are reviewed. The role of this approach pertaining to the future development of novel and unique nanodevices, which cannot be realized using traditional manufacturing techniques, is discussed. Intriguing recent results have shown that selective properties of the products can be obtained by controlling the electroless plating process and post surface treatment. © 2008 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.