Modern high performance engines are usually characterized by high power densities, which lead to high mechanical and thermal loadings acting on engine components. In this scenario, aluminium may not represent the best choice for piston manufacturing and steel may be considered as a valid alternative. In this paper, a methodology involving optimization techniques is presented for the design of an internal combustion engine piston. In particular, a design strategy is preliminary investigated aiming at replacing the standard aluminium piston, usually manufactured by forging or casting, with an alternative one made of steel and manufactured via an Additive Manufacturing process. Three different loading conditions are employed for the topology optimizations set up. Optimization results are then interpreted and the various structural features of the steel piston are designed starting from the density distribution contour plots. Different Finite Element thermo-mechanical models are finally prepared in order to correct and validate the designed geometry.