Boundary labeling deals with annotating features in images such that labels are placed outside of the image and are connected by curves (so-called leaders) to the corresponding features. While boundary labeling has been extensively investigated from an algorithmic perspective, the research on its readability has been neglected. In this paper we present the first formal user study on the readability of boundary labeling. We consider the four most studied leader types with respect to their performance, i.e., whether and how fast a viewer can assign a feature to its label and vice versa. We give a detailed analysis of the results regarding the readability of the four models and discuss their aesthetic qualities based on the users’ preference judgments and interviews.