Anodic oxidation of aluminum (AAO) results in a good nanotemplate however the formation of a non-conductive barrier layer closing the pore bottoms and hindering the direct electrochemical growth of metallic nanostructures within the template is a problem. The barrier layer has to be removed in order to use AAO templates as fabricated and the underlying bare aluminum metal should also be made suitable for electrodeposition. This study solves those two problems simultaneously by applying an immersion zincate treatment directly after anodization. The versatility of the technique is illustrated with DC electrodeposition of freestanding nickel nanowires. (C) 2014 The Electrochemical Society. All rights reserved.