This work proposes a methodology involving stiffness optimization for subject-specific cementless hip implant design based on finite element analysis for reducing stress-shielding effect. To assess the change in the stress-strain state of the femur and the resulting stress-shielding effect due to insertion of the implant, a finite element analysis of the resected femur with implant assembly is carried out for a clinically relevant loading condition. Selecting the von Mises stress as the criterion for discriminating regions for elastic modulus difference, a stiffness minimization method was employed by varying the elastic modulus distribution in custom implant stem. The stiffness minimization problem is formulated as material distribution problem without explicitly penalizing partial volume elements. This formulation enables designs that could be fabricated using additive manufacturing to make porous implant with varying levels of porosity. Stress-shielding effect, measured as difference between the von Mises stress in the intact and implanted femur, decreased as the elastic modulus distribution is optimized. © Institution of Mechanical Engineers.