The level set method has been used for 20 years in a wide range of physical applications to track moving interfaces instead of an explicit description of the geometry. This paper studies in detail the shape of the level set function, delimiting a sub-domain in solid mechanics, with an innovative update method based on the computation of a displacement field obtained with the values of the level set function. A criterion based on the values of the level set function is proposed in order to assign the material properties. With the help of this criterion, an optimal approach is proposed, which predicts an accurate evolution of the sub-domain boundary. To validate this method, it was first applied in two dimensions to a through-thickness hole plate case, and then to the cases of brain tumour expansion and grasping to demonstrate the applicability of the method.