This study presents electrochemical preparation and characterization of PtRu-modified Cu/Ni/NiZn electrodes (Cu/Ni/NiZn-PtRu) as cathode materials for alkaline water electrolysis. The electrodes were characterized using energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDX), scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and X-ray diffraction (XRD) techniques. Their electrochemical activities as cathode materials for alkaline water electrolysis were evaluated with the help of current potential curves. The results showed that the PtRu-modified layers have porous structures with relatively low Pt and Ru chemical compositions. The modification of the alkaline leached Cu/Ni/NiZn surface by Pt and/or Ru enhances the electrochemical activity of the electrode. Their catalytic activity depends on the molar ratios of Pt and Ru; the PtRu binary deposit with the percentage weight ratio of approximately 56:44 exhibits the highest hydrogen evolution activity among the studied electrodes. The enhanced hydrogen evolution activity of the PtRu-modified electrodes was related to the porous surface and/or a possible synergistic effect between the metals. Copyright (c) 2015, Hydrogen Energy Publications, LLC. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.